The Babylonian Talmud

Mo'ed Katan


Mo'ed Katan 2a



GEMARA. Now, one might argue that after [having permitted] watering FROM A NEWLY EMERGING spring — which is apt to come along tearing up [the soil]12 — need further mention be made of [drawing from] A SPRING THAT IS NOT NEWLY EMERGING-which is unlikely to come tearing up [the soil]?13 — I may answer that it is necessary [to mention the latter]; for if [the Tanna] had mentioned only the newly emerging spring I might have said that only here [where it is] for an irrigation plot it is permitted — but not for a Baal-plot,14 because it is apt to come tearing up [the soil]; but [on the other hand], from a spring that is not newly emerging, which is unlikely to come tearing up [the soil], I might say that even a Baal-plot [may be watered]; therefore he informs us15 that there is no difference; be it a spring newly emerging, or a spring not newly emerging, an irrigation plot may be watered therefrom, but a Baal-plot may not be.16

And whence [know we] that the term BETH HA-SHELAHIN17 denotes a ‘thirsty’18 field? — It is written: When thou wast faint and weary,19 and we render the word ‘faint’ [in Aramaic] by meshalhi.20 And whence [know we] that Beth ha-Baal21 denotes ‘settled’ soil? — It is written: For as a man be the husband [yib'al] of a maiden, so shall thy sons be as husbands unto thee22 and we render [in Aramaic], ‘Behold as a young man settles down with a maiden, thy sons shall become settled23 in the midst of thee’.

Who may be the [unnamed] Tanna24 who maintains that [work25 to prevent] loss is allowed,26 but [to augment] profit27 is not allowed; and that even in [averting] loss we should not do any laborious work?28 Said R. Huna: It is [the view of] R. Eliezer b. Jacob, as we learned:29 R. Eliezer b. Jacob says: Water may be trained along from tree to tree, provided that one does not water thus the entire field.30

I grant31 you may understand R. Eliezer [b. Jacob]32 to disallow exertion to enhance profit,33 but could you also understand him [from here] to disallow exertion [even] where loss is [involved]? Rather, said R. Papa, (whose view is it)?34 It is R. Judah's, as it is taught: ‘A spring newly emerging may be [used for] watering even (a field that is)35 a Baal-plot. So R. Meir; R. Judah36 says, None but (a field that is)35 a ‘languid plot’ that has dried up may be watered [therefrom]. R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah says, Neither one nor the other.37 R. Judah38 went even further and said, ‘A person may not clean out a water channel39 and [with the dredging] water his garden of debris — [heap]40 during the festival week’. [Now] what is [meant by a ‘languid plot’] that dried up?41 If you say, literally dried up’ what is the good of watering it? — Said Abaye, It means that this [old] spring has run dry42 and another has [just] emerged [instead].43 ‘R. Eleazar b. Azariah says, Neither one nor the other’. [By this he means to say that] it makes no difference whether the [old] spring has run dry or has not run dry, a newly emerging spring is not to be used.

But how [do you arrive at this conclusion]? Perhaps when R.Judah said that a languid plot may be watered from a newly emerging spring and a Baal-plot may not be,

(1) בית השלחין means lit. ‘a house of channels’, i.e., a plot of land which owing to situation or climate or nature of the soil requires to be watered artificially. It is often a laborious process and at times of vital importance to the crop.
(2) I.e., during the middle period of the two longer Feasts, namely, the ‘Feast of Unleavened Bread’ (Passover) and that of Tabernacles, v. Introduction.
(3) Lit., ‘the seventh year’. Every seventh year in the Jubilee cycle was ordained to be a year of remissness, or sabbath for the land, when the regular processes of agriculture for its improvement were to be suspended. V. Ex. XXIII, 10-11; Lev. XXV, 2ff and infra 3a.
(4) קילון the Greek **, a mechanical contrivance for raising water by water-wheel or bucket from a deep well, like the shadoof in Egypt and the denkli or paecottah in India. The reason for the objections is stated in the Gemara.
(5) Circular depressions made about the stem of the vine, or a small trench drawn about a group of vines to retain the water. V. infra 4b.
(6) Broken wells, cisterns or aqueducts; pools that have become muddy puddles, or blocked drains. (קילקולי _ Latin cloaculae, Baneth).
(7) For priests and pilgrims to purify themselves ritually or their vessels that have met with defilement. Cf. Lev. XI, 24-40; XXII, 1-7.
(8) E.g., removing rubbish and thorns, levelling the road and footways, mending bridges, etc. Cf. infra 5a.
(9) With whitewash of lime to warn passers-by against defilement. Cf. infra 5a.
(10) [MS.M. omits ‘ALSO’ which is difficult to explain. V. Tosaf. Yom Tob].
(11) Lev. XIX, 19: Thou shall not sow thy field with two (or more kinds of) seeds (promiscuously). They are neither to be sown nor preserved by active process. Infra 2b, 6a and cf. Kil. I, 1, 9; Shek. I, 1, a.
(12) I.e., by erosion, necessitating immediate repair of the damage during the restricted period.
(13) Running on its habitual course.
(14) בית בעל, lit., ‘Baal's area’, or field — an old pagan denomination of a fertile soil, i.e., a soil favoured by ‘Baal Lord of the heavens’, Baal-Shamen, with fertilizing rain and sunshine. V. Cooke's N.S.I. p. 45, n. 1 etc. and Robertson Smith's Religion of the Semites (ed. 1894) pp. 96-97. Cf. Isa. LV, 10 and Ta'an. 6b: ‘Rain is earth's husband’; also Krauss, TA II, p. 546, n. 115.
(15) From here to the end of the sentence is not in DS., being seemingly a gloss from 2b.
(16) From a new or old spring.
(17) Rendered ‘AN IRRIGATED FIELD’.
(18) Or ‘a languid track.’ The term שלחין (channels) is here explained by popular etymology as derived from שלהי (the gutturals ה and ח interchanging), ‘weary’, ‘exhausted’. V. n. 2.
(19) Deut. XXV, 18. Han. and Aruch s.v. שלה (VIII, 80b) quote more appropriately Gen. XXV, 29 referring to Esau's exhaustion and thirst. Cf. Isa. XXIX, 8 and Ps. LXIII, 2.
(20) A participle Shafel from להי meaning ‘exhausted’. This derivation is grammatically unsound. In B.B., Sonc. ed. p. 271 it is more correctly connected with the root in the sense of sending water across the fields in channels. Cf. Ezek. XXXI, 4;. Ps CIV, 10; Job V, 10. It is surmised that the name of the Pool of Siloam (לשח) is derived from the same root. V. Krauss, TA. II, p. 547, n. 117.
(21) V. supra p. 2, n. 7.
(22) Isa. LXII, 5.
(23) Cf. our expressions husbandry and husbandman.
(24) In the first clause of the Mishnah.
(25) During the Festival week.
(26) I.e., watering a languid soil.
(27) E.g., watering a fertile field to make it still more productive.
(28) Lit., ‘excessive trouble’, e.g., to use rainwater or raise water by swipe.
(29) V. infra 6b, Mishnah.
(30) To water the whole field in that manner is all exertion to be avoided during the Festival week.
(31) Lit., ‘say’.
(32) So correctly, R. Han., DS.
(33) As he forbids watering the entire field, presumably thinking it unnecessary to give it an extra watering to increase its fertility.
(34) Omitted in DS.
(35) A doublet occurring also in the texts given in the next note.
(36) J.M.K. I, 1 (81a) and Tosef.,1, I read here, ‘and the Sages say’ instead, showing that it is R. Judah's view that has been adopted in the Mishnah. Obviously, the Babylonian teachers engaged in this critical discussion did not have that reading.
(37) I.e., that a newly emerging spring may not be used either for a generally nourished field (again at R. Meir's view), nor in a ‘languid field’ even where it has replaced a dried-up old spring (against R. Judah's view).
(38) He went further in his restrictions, even in the case of a ‘languid field’. (Tosaf. v. Ritba).
(39) A running brook or ditch which has become muddy and shallow, which he may clean out under certain conditions discussed infra 4b.
(40) Used as a vegetable garden or bed for nurslings. V. Tosaf. Lit., ‘his garden and his ruin’.
(41) I.e., that is waste.
(42) Lit., ‘it is dried up from this spring’.
(43) [All of which shows that R. Judah does not permit any laborious work even in order to avert loss, as in the case of the old spring having dried up, whereas R. Judah permits watering from the new spring that has emerged but not from rain-water or a swipe-well, which is in agreement with our Mishnah].

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 2b

he was referring only to a newly emerging spring since it may come along tearing up [the soil]; but a spring that is not just newly emerging and which is unlikely to come along tearing up [the soil] he might allow even for a Baal-plot?1 If [you take it] thus, then whom does our Mishnah represent?2 The fact is that according to R. Judah it makes no difference, whether it be a newly emerging spring, or a spring not just newly emerging; in either case a languid plot may be watered [therefrom], but a Baal-plot may not be. And the reason why it states the ‘newly emerging’ spring3 is [merely] to show how far R. Meir is prepared to go, [namely], that even a newly emerging spring may be used for watering and even for a Baal-field!

It was stated: ‘If one is [seen] weeding or watering his seedlings on the Sabbath,4 under what category [of the offence] should he be cautioned?5 — Rabbah said, [It comes] under the category of ploughing. R. Joseph said, under the category of sowing. Said Rabbah, My view seems the more reasonable, for what is the object of the plougher? To loosen the soil; here too, he loosens the soil. Said R. Joseph, My view seems the more reasonable, for what is the object of the sower? To promote the growth of the produce; here too, he promotes the growth of the produce.

Said Abaye to Rabbah, Your view presents difficulty and R. Joseph's view presents difficulty. Your view presents difficulty, for does the act come [only] under the category of ploughing [and] not under that of sowing [only]? R. Joseph's view presents difficulty, for does it come [only] under the category of sowing [and] not under that of ploughing also? And should you rejoin that where there are two [possible categories], the offender is liable only on one count, [this cannot be] for did not R. Kahana say that if one [incidentally] pruned [his tree] in cutting it for wood6 he is liable on two counts, one under the category of planting7 and one again under that of reaping?8 — This is a difficulty.9

R. Joseph, thereupon, put an objection to Rabbah from [the following]: One who weeds or covers [with earth] diverse-seeds10 receives [judicial] flogging. R. Akiba says, Also one who preserves [them].11 Now this is in perfect accord with my view, as I say that [he who weeds is to be cautioned] under the category of sowing, which [explains the penalty] because sowing is [explicitly] forbidden in connection with diverse-seeds; but according to your view who say that [he is to be cautioned] under the category of ploughing, is ploughing forbidden in connection with diverse-seeds? — Said he [Rabbah] to him, [He12 is flogged] under the category of preserving [them]. But surely, since the last clause states ‘R. Akiba says, Also one who preserves [them]’, may we not infer that according to the first Tanna the penalty is not on account of preserving [them]? — The entire statement is [to be taken as] recording R. Akiba's view, and the latter clause is explanatory: ‘On what ground does one who weeds or covers [with earth] diverse-seeds receive a flogging? Because he comes under the category of preserving, for R. Akiba says, Also he who preserves [them]’. What is R. Akiba's reason? — It is taught: — Thou shalt not sow thy field with two kinds of seed’.13 This tells me about ‘sowing’, whence [the prohibition against] preserving [what is already sown]? — From the instructive wording kil'ayim [diverse-seeds] in thy field not.14 We learned: An IRRIGATED FIELD MAY BE WATERED DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK] OR IN THE SABBATICAL YEAR. This [permission] is perfectly correct in regard to the festival [week] where [the prohibition is] merely to avoid exertion, but where loss is [threatened]15 the Rabbis have allowed it. But in regard to the sabbatical year, whether on the view that [watering] comes under the category of sowing16 or on the view that it comes under that of ploughing,17 is either sowing or ploughing permitted in the sabbatical year?18 — Said Abaye, Our Mishnah is speaking of the sabbatical year in the present time and it [expresses] the view held by Rabbi;19 for it is taught: Rabbi says, [It is written] And this is the manner of the release; release [by every creditor of that which he hath lent to his neighbour];20 the text speaks here of two forms of release, one the release of the soil [from tillage]21 and the other the release of money22 [the juxtaposition of] which tells us that so long as you must release the soil [from tillage], you must release the money [debt], but when you do not release the soil, you need not release the money!23 Said Raba [not necessarily], you may even say [it voices] the view of the Rabbis24 and that they25 are the principal [types of work] that the Divine Law has forbidden [explicitly],

(1) Whereas our Mishnah forbids watering a Baal-plot from a newly emerging spring. Consequently it will not represent the view of R. Judah.
(2) Lit., ‘to whom will you throw (trace the view of) our Mishnah’.
(3) In the cited Baraitha: the spring might as well have been left undefined, as either is allowed for a languid plot by R. Judah.
(4) Ritba reads on a festival, which is preferred by R. Moses Sofer. Cf. Mak., Sonc. ed., p. 149.
(5) An offender doing an act which is explicitly forbidden in Holy Writ had to be duly and accurately cautioned by two witnesses against that particular act, and informed of the exact penalty it involved, before he could be judicially punished by a duly constituted tribunal. Ploughing, sowing and mowing are of the thirty-nine main categories of work forbidden (Scripturally) on Sabbath or Festivals. For the list v. Shab. VII, 2 and Shab. 73aff.
(6) Lit., ‘he prunes and requires the wood’. Shab. 73b. Work on the Sabbath is to be purposive, whether intended or not. If one did what he desired to do, without knowing that such a thing was not to be done on the Sabbath, or forgetting for the moment that it was the Sabbath day, he would not be punishable, but would have to bring a sin-offering in Temple times.
(7) Pruning promotes growth and is therefore another form of sowing or planting.
(8) Having a definite purpose for the cuttings.
(9) Var. lec. omit this final admission. [The statement of R. Kahana, being of an Amora, is not deemed sufficiently authoritative to refute the views of Rabbah and R. Joseph. V. Tosaf. s.v. חײב]
(10) Weeding and covering with earth diverse-seeds are here made punishable as sowing, v. Lev. XIX, 19 (cf. Deut. XXII, 9).
(11) Fencing in the plot to prevent cattle from trampling them out or feeding on the young blades. Cf. A.Z. 64a (Rashi and Tosaf.).
(12) He who weeds diverse-seeds.
(13) Lev. XIX, 19.
(14) Some explain a section of the Hebrew text of Lev. XIX, 19, כלאים שדך לא תזרע כלאים, as it were two interlocked sentences, (i) כלאים שדך לא i.e., ‘Kil'ayim in thy field not’, (which forbids the presence and the preservation of diverse-seed crops in the field); and (ii) שדך לא תזרע כלאים i.e., ‘Thy field thou shalt not sow kil'ayim’ (which forbids sowing). This explanation, however, is very strained, as the variations in the parallel passages show, having puzzled the commentators. The readings תײל לאכ לאים and ת״ל כלאים לא, are both correct and to the same effect. It is the import of the wording rather than the form of the text that R. Akiba stressed. It is the diverse mixing or crossing — ‘kil'ayim’ — that is emphatically forbidden, be it of animal, or field, or raiment (Lev. XIX, 19) and fiercest of all in the (oliveyard or) vineyard (Deut. XXII, 9). Have no share by your action in producing kil'aym!
(15) As shown above.
(16) R. Joseph, above.
(17) Rabbah, above.
(18) Sowing, pruning, gleaning and reaping are directly forbidden in Lev. XXV, 4-5. Ploughing, however, is forbidden only indirectly, by implication from a positive law in Ex. XXIII, 11; XXXIV, 21. Note this point.
(19) R. Judah ha-Nasi, compiler of the Mishnah.
(20) Deut. XV, 2.
(21) I.e., let the soil lie fallow and the crops free and unguarded against the poor, Ex. XXIII, 11.
(22) Let slip the money debts owing to you.
(23) The interpretation is based on the ground that since the Nation, Israel as a whole, is no longer in possession of the Holy Land as his inheritance, the land laws relative to the sabbatical year and Jubilee re-distributions, which are made contingent on Israel's entry and possession (Lev. XXV, 2, 10ff; cf. ibid. XXVI, 34-35, and Deut. XXXI, 10-13) are of necessity in abeyance, for the time being. [This according to Rabbi, since the prohibition of tilling the soil on the sabbatical years nowadays is merely Rabbinical, it is not enforced where a loss is involved; hence the ruling of our Mishnah.]
(24) That the operation of the sabbatical year nowadays is Biblical.
(25) Those that are specified in the text of Holy Writ.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 3a

but derivative1 operations it has not forbidden, for it is written: But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land..., thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of itself of thy harvest thou shalt not reap and the grapes of thy undressed vine thou shalt not gather.2 Now, since pruning comes within the general process of sowing3 and grape-gathering within the general process of reaping,4 what law then did the All-Merciful desire to inculcate by inserting these [secondary processes] into the text? To indicate that only for these secondary processes [specified in the text] is one [to be] held liable5 and for [any] other [secondary processes] one is not [to be] held liable.6 Indeed not? Surely it has been taught: Thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard,7 that only forbids me sowing or pruning; whence is forbidden weeding or hoeing or the trimming of wilted parts? From the instructive [form of the] text: Thy field thou shalt not... thy vineyard thou shalt not . . . [which means] no manner of work in thy field; no manner of work in thy vineyard. [Likewise] whence [is derived the rule] not to cut back shoots, or thin twigs or put up props for supporting [fruit trees]? From the [same] instructive text: Thy field thou shalt not . . . thy vineyard thou shalt not . . . [which means] no manner of work in thy field, no manner of work in thy vineyard. [Similarly] whence [is derived the rule] not to manure,8 or remove stones, or dust [with flower of sulphur]9 or fumigate the tree? From the instructive wording of the text: Thy field thou shalt not . . . thy vineyard thou shalt not, that is, no manner of work in the field, no manner of work in the vineyard. Shall I say that one should not [even] stir the soil under the olive trees, nor use the hoe under the vines, nor fill the gaps [under the olive trees]10 with water nor make drills11 for the vines? There is the Instructive wording of the text: Thy field thou shalt not sow [nor thy vineyard shalt thou prune]. Now, as ‘sowing’ was already embraced in the general terms of the ordinance,12 why then was it singled out [for mention]? To provide ground for an analogy, namely that just as sowing has the special quality of being a work common to field and orchard,13 so is every [other] work that is common to field and orchard [forbidden]!14 — [That is only] Rabbinically; and the text is adduced merely as a support.15 But, is it permitted to stir the soil [under the olive tree] in the sabbatical year? Surely [is it not taught]: It is written, But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie fallow;16 ‘let it rest’ — not to hoe; and ‘[let it] lie fallow — not to remove stones? — Said R. ‘Ukba b. Haba, there are two sorts of hoeing, one for strengthening the [olive] tree, and another to close up fissures; that for strengthening the tree is forbidden, whereas that for closing up fissures is allowed.17

It has been stated:18 — If one ploughed in the sabbatical year,19 R. Johanan and R. Eleazar20 [took opposite views]. One said that he is flogged21 and the other said that he is not flogged.22 Might I suggest that the issue turns on the dictum of R. Ela as reported by R. Abin? For R. Abin reported R. Ela to have stated that wherever a general [proposition] is stated in the form of a positive command and a particular [specification] in the form of a negative injunction,23 the hermeneutical rule of General-Particular-General24 does not apply to it.25 [Accordingly], the one who says the offender is flogged, did not agree with that dictum of R. Abin in the name of R. Ela,26 while the other who says that the offender is not flogged did agree with the dictum of R. Abin [in the name of R. Ela]?27 — Not [necessarily]. It can be maintained that nobody agrees with the dictum of R. Ela, as reported by R. Abin. As to the one who says that the offender is flogged28 it of course is in order, while the other who says the offender is not flogged may tell you thus:29 Consider: pruning comes within [the general process of] sowing and grape-gathering within [the general process of] reaping, what rule did the All-Merciful intend to inculcate by inserting these [secondary processes] into the text? To indicate that only for these secondary processes [specified in the text] is one [to be] held liable, but for any other secondary process30 he is not [to be] held liable. But is he not? Surely it is taught: Thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard, this only forbids me sowing or pruning; whence is forbidden weeding, hoeing, or the trimming of wilted parts? From the instructive [form of] the text: Thy field thou shalt not . . . thy vineyard thou shalt not . . . [which means] no manner of work in thy field; no manner of work in thy vineyard. Whence [is derived the rule] not to cut back shoots, or thin twigs or put up props for [fruit] trees? From the [same] instructive text: thy field thou shalt not ...thy vineyard thou shalt not . . . [which means] no manner of work in thy field, no manner of work in thy vineyard. Whence [is derived the rule] not to manure, or remove stones, [or dust] or fumigate the trees? From the instructive text: Thy field thou shalt not . . . thy vineyard thou shalt not . . . [that is], no manner of work in thy field, no manner of work in thy vineyard. Am I then to say that one may not stir the soil under the olive trees, nor use the hoe under the vines, nor fill the [open] gaps [under the olives] with water, nor make drills for the vines? There is the instructive wording of the text: Thy field thou shalt not sow and thy vineyard thou shalt not prune. Now, sowing was already embraced in the general terms of the ordinance, why then was it singled out [for mention]? For the purpose of providing [ground for] an analogy, that just as sowing has the special quality of being a work common to field and vineyard, so is any other work that is common to field and orchard [forbidden]? — [That is only] rabbinically; and the text is [adduced] as a mere support.31

(1) Or secondary processes which are not unspecified.
(2) Lev. XXV, 4-5.
(3) Or planting, as explained above by R. Kahana.
(4) V. Shab. 73a.
(5) To a judicial flogging.
(6) I.e., scripturally (even according to the Rabbis) though reprehensible rabbinically.
(7) The order of the Hebrew words in the text is: ‘Thy field thou shalt not sow nor thy vineyard shalt thou etc.’
(8) Yalkut reads: ‘remove excrescences’ or ‘warts’.
(9) Thus J. Sheb. II, 2; Aruch explains ‘remove dust from the foliage’ and Rashi here takes it as covering with dust the exposed roots. The context seems to favour the first explanation here adopted.
(10) After thinning olive trees, by lifting some to give more room for the other young trees, the gap left in the soil would ordinarily be filled with manure and olive trees need much water. Cf. Sheb. IV, 5, and Sifra Behar Rabad's Commentary.
(11) Or small ridges with furrows on top between the vines. V. loc. cit.
(12) Lev. XXV, 4: But the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto the Lord, in direct contrast to verse 3; there was therefore no further need to continue with specific instances of the prohibition, such as sowing the field and pruning the vineyard.
(13) I.e.,common to both, agriculture and horticulture.
(14) [Excluding the last mentioned processes which are not common to both field and vineyard. At all events this teaching shows that a number of processes though of the secondary type are forbidden in the sabbatical year).
(15) I.e., mnemotechnical and Biblically only sowing, pruning, reaping and gleaning are forbidden explicitly. The inclusion of ploughing, digging, hoeing or watering in the prohibition is purely Rabbinic. Thus the ruling of the Mishnah that an irrigated field may be watered . . . in the sabbatical year has now been explained: by Abaye on the basis of Rabbi's view, namely, that the restrictions of the sabbatical year are not operative nowadays; and, on the other hand by Raba, on the view of the other Rabbis (who do not concede Rabbi's interpretation of Deut. XV, 2), by pointing out that ‘watering’ is, strictly speaking, not textually forbidden, it being a ‘derivative’ (secondary) process, and hence allowed by the Rabbis in the sabbatical year where damage (loss of crop) is likely.
(16) Ex. XXIII, 11.
(17) The former is for enhancing profit and the latter is prevention of loss, namely, to save the tree from bleeding or rotting.
(18) The same question is again discussed from a different angle in Palestinian schools.
(19) After having been duly cautioned.
(20) B. Pedath.
(21) As having offended against a Biblical prohibition.
(22) Because ‘ploughing’ is not distinctly forbidden, but is only an implied offence, for which no judicial flogging can be given.
(23) E.g., in Lev. XXV, 2-5. We have first a general ordinance in positive terms: The land shall keep a sabbath unto the Lord. Six years thou shalt sow . . . prune . . . gather in the produce thereof, but the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest unto the Lord (cf. Ex. XXIII,11); then follow the particulars in negative terms. Thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of itself thou shalt not reap and the grapes of thy undressed vines thou shalt not gather (Lev. XXV, 4-5). Then follows a general rule again in positive form: It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.
(24) According to this rule, the particulars are in such a case considered typical as illustrations serving to include in the general rule all such items as are similar to the particulars. E.g. in Ex. XXII, 8 the text first states that an oath can be judicially imposed ‘for every matter of trespass’ (General term). This is followed by: ‘for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment’ (particulars), which again is followed finally by: ‘for any manner of lost thing’ (General). We infer from this that an oath can be imposed for things like those specified as typical instances, but not in the case of a dispute about land, being immovable property, or in the case of sanctuary-property, as it being not one's neighbour's property, or in the case of dispute about a slave, as being a (human) chattel, or about documents, as not being ‘property’, but merely instruments of evidence. Similarly in the case of the sabbatical year,if the particulars are typical of the general rule, one who does any of these would break the law.
(25) But it is treated merely as a general proposition which is followed only by a particularization, in which case the general proposition does not go beyond what has actually been specified by the particularization that follows it.
(26) I.e., he interprets the Sabbatical Ordinance as a pure instance of a General-Particular-General form and takes sowing, pruning, reaping and gleaning as typical illustrative instances and, accordingly, considers ‘ploughing’ as included in the general terms of the Ordinance and hence as a punishable offence.
(27) I.e., that the Sabbatical Ordinance cannot be treated as a pure form of General-Particular-General, it being negative in the particulars, which amounts to saying, ‘Not a, not b, not c; these, I mean, precisely, and no others’. ‘Ploughing’ therefore is not included among the forbidden processes and hence is not a punishable offence.
(28) For ploughing in the sabbatical year.
(29) In interpreting the import of the wording of the text, to show that there is no penalty for ploughing, although the application of the General-Particular-General rule would indicate to the contrary.
(30) I.e., ploughing.
(31) For notes v. supra p. 9, n. 6.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 3b

When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said [the discussion went on]: Possibly, you might say that the offender be flogged [even] for the ‘extension’? But the teaching was concluded1 to prove that he was exempt. But [said he], I know not which was the teaching, nor what was [actually] meant by ‘extension’.

R. Eleazar [b. Pedath] said that the ‘extension’ had reference to [the inclusion of] ‘ploughing’ [as a punishable offence], and the argument proceeded thus: Possibly [you might say] that he should be flogged for ‘ploughing’ [in the sabbatical year], the rule being inferred by [treating the sabbatical ordinance as a case of] General-Particular-General; then the teaching was concluded to prove exemption. For, if it [the flogging] were correct, what is the [legal] import of all those particulars [set out in the text]?

R. Johanan said [that the ‘extension’ had reference to] the extra days [of restriction] which the sages had added prior to New Year; and the argument proceeded thus: Possibly [you might say] that he should be flogged for [ploughing during] the extended extra period prior to New Year which is based on the text: ‘In ploughing time and in reaping time thou shalt rest.2 Then the teaching was concluded to prove exemption [from a flogging], as we shall seek to explain presently.

What is meant by ‘the days [of restriction] prior to New Year’? — According to what we learned: ‘Up to what date may ploughing be done in a tree field [orchard] in the pre-sabbatical year? Beth Shammai say, As long as it is for the benefit of the fruit; Beth Hillel say, Up to the Feast of Weeks; and the [practical effect of] one ruling is much the same as that of the other.3 And up to what date may they plough a "white field"4 in the pre-sabbatical year? Up to when the moisture gives out and as long as people till for planting their cucumber and gourd beds. Said R. Simeon, If that is so, you have handed over the Torah for every individual to determine for himself the right time! No: [I say], a "white field" [they may till] up to Passover and a tree field up to the Feast of Weeks’.5
(And Beth Hillel say up to Passover.)6

And7 R. Simeon b. Pazzi reported in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi who had it from Bar Kappara that Rabban Gamaliel and his Beth din took a vote on these two [terminal] periods8 and abrogated them. Said R. Zera to R. Abbahu, some say, Resh Lakish said to R. Johanan: How could Rabban Gamaliel and his Beth din abrogate a measure instituted by Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel? Surely we learned: ‘No Beth din has power to nullify the words [ruling] of another Beth din unless it be superior to it in learning and number’!9 ‘He was astonished for a while’;10 then he replied: I say, they thus have stipulated among themselves that whoever might thereafter wish to abrogate that [measure] could come and abrogate it.11 But was it their measure? Was it not an [ancient] halachah of Moses from Sinai?12 As [in fact] R. Assi reported R. Johanan to have said in the name of R. Nehuniah13 a man hailing from the valley of Beth Hauran,14 that the [laws of] ‘Ten Saplings,’15 the ‘Willow’16 and the ‘Water Libation’17 were ‘halachah’ of Moses from Sinai! — Said R. Isaac, When we received on tradition that law [of extra restriction] as [an ancient] halachah, It was only in reference to ‘thirty days prior to the New Year’; thereafter came those [of Beth Shammai and Hillel] and instituted [the cessation] from Passover18 and the Feast of Weeks,19 and [at the same time] they stipulated with reference to their [measure] that whoever might [thereafter] wish to abrogate [them] might come and abrogate them.20

But were these [termini] merely halachah [-usages]? Were they not [based on Biblical] texts? For is it not taught: [Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest]: in ploughing time and in reaping time thou shalt rest.21 Says R. Akiba,22 There is no need to be told [in the second clause] to desist from ploughing or reaping in the seventh year, since it is already stated [elsewhere at length]: thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard: [that which groweth of itself thou shalt not reap].23 [It can be taken] only [to debar] ploughing in the pre-sabbatical year

(1) Lit., ‘the Talmud took it up’. (3) As explained above. (4) The sabbatical year began with the New Year. It was necessary to stop tillage before that date; when, and where, did it originate? On what authority? These are the points to be discussed now at length.
(2) Ex. XXXIV, 21 The exposition of this follows presently.
(3) Sheb. I, 1.
(4) Preparing for a grain crop, i.e., of cereals or legumina. A white field=a sown field, not planted with trees that cast a shadow.
(5) Ibid. II, 1.
(6) This bracketed part is a meaningless gloss.
(7) [So MS. M. Cur. edd. insert ‘And’].
(8) Passover (Nisan) and the Feast of Weeks (Sivan); after these were abrogated, tillage was again permitted down to New Year
(9) ‘Ed. I, 5.
(10) A phrase from Daniel IV, 16. R. Abbahu or R. Johanan was for the moment puzzled for a reply.
(11) Should the exigencies of the time demand it.
(12) I.e., a rule of immemorial practice, whose origin is unknown. Cf. our expression ‘as old as the hills’. Cf. ‘Ed. VIII, 7; Yad. Malachi No. 663 and W. Bacher's Tradition und Tradenten etc. (1914) p. 33ff.
(13) Also Hunya, Huna or Huna. Bacher ibid. p. 38 sect. 11.
(14) A high plain S.E. of Damascus mentioned by Ezekiel, XLVII, 18, among the boundaries of Palestine (cf. R.H. 22b). Herod established there a protectorate under Zamaris, a Babylonian Jew who offered military safety to the Babylonian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. V. Josephus, Antiquities XVII, 11, 1-2.
(15) A young plantation in a field of fifty by fifty cubits in dimension with at least ten saplings may be tilled entirely for their benefit, down to the edge of the sabbatical year which began with New Year's day, the first of Tishri. This implies that with old trees tilling must cease before New Year.
(16) V. infra. Willows were carried in procession once round the altar during the first six days of Tabenacles and then fixed at the side of the altar. On the seventh day the circuit was made seven times. V. Suk. 45a, where Abbahu suggests a Biblical indication, Ps. CXVIII, 27.
(17) On the same occasions the grand celebration of the water libation took place in the Temple, a golden flagon being filled with water from Siloam, was brought amidst trumpet blasts to the Temple and poured on the altar by the High Priest.
(18) For a ‘white field’, growing cereals and legumina.
(19) For a tree field, an orchard.
(20) And it is only these two earlier terms, Passover and Feast of Weeks, up to thirty days before New Year that Rabban Gamaliel and his Beth din abrogated. Cf. J. Sheb. I, 5.
(21) Ex. XXXIV, 21.
(22) As all manner of work is forbidden on the sabbath day, the particular stress on ploughing and reaping suggested a connection between the sabbath-day and the sabbath-year.
(23) Lev. XXV, 4-5.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 4a

[which may have beneficial effects] extending into the seventh year and [likewise] to the reaping of the seventh year's crops which mature in the post-sabbatical year.1 Says R. Ishmael, [It is purely a Sabbath law]; as the ploughing [here forbidden on Sabbath] is optional ploughing,2 so is the reaping [here mentioned] optional reaping; outside this [law] is the reaping [of the new barley] for the ‘omer’3 which is a religious duty [by ordinance]!4 — In fact said R. Nahman b. Isaac, when we received on tradition [that the pre-sabbatic restrictions had their origin in] halachah [-usage], this had reference to the permission [of tilling for the benefit] of saplings;5 whereas the texts are for the prohibition of old trees.6 But since ‘halachah [-usage] allowed [tillage down to New Year] for saplings,it is not obvious that old trees were forbidden? — What we must say therefore is, the halachah [-usage] as basis for the prohibition is [necessary] according to R. Ishmael,7 whereas the texts [serve as basis] according to R. Akiba.

But R. Johanan said that Rabban Gamaliel and his Beth din abrogated those [restrictions] on Biblical authority. What was the reason? He deduced it by equating the term ‘Sabbath’ common to both8 the Sabbath-year and the Sabbath of Creation9 [thus]: Just as in the case of the Sabbath Day [work is forbidden] on the day itself, but on the day before and on the day after it is allowed, so [likewise] in the Sabbath Year [tillage is forbidden] during the year itself, but in the year before and in the year after it is allowed.

To this R. Ashi demurred: On the view that it [the restriction] is a halachah [-usage] can a gezerah shawah [deduction]8 come and eradicate a halachah [-usage]; and [likewise] on the view that it is [based on] a Biblical text, can a gezerah shawah8 come and eradicate a text! — But no, said R. Ashi, Rabban Gamaliel and his Beth din concurred with R. Ishmael who held that [the presabbatical restrictions] were based on a halachah-usage. And when did the tradition of such halachah-usage [apply]? During the time when the Temple was still standing, like that of the water libation;10 but in times when the Temple is no longer standing the tradition of this halachah-usage does not apply.11

BUT IT MAY NOT BE WATERED FROM [STORED] RAIN NOR BY THAT OF A SWIPE-WELL. It is quite correct [to prohibit water] from a swipe-well, because that is a rather extra trouble; but rain water-what trouble is there [in using it]? — Said R. Ela, reporting R. Johanan: Rain water is prohibited as a precaution on account of the swipe-well.12 R. Ashi said: Rain water itself may [sometimes] come to be [just as difficult to draw13 as] the water of a swipe-well. And they differ on [the statement of] R. Zera; for R. Zera said that Rabbah b. Jeremiah, citing Samuel, said that rivers drawing from [adjoining] water pools may be used for watering during the festival week.14 One Master15 is in agreement with [the statement of] R. Zera, while the other16 is not in agreement with [the statement of] R. Zera. The text [above stated]: ‘R. Zera said that Rabbah b. Jeremiah, citing Samuel, said that rivers drawing from [adjoining] water pools may be used for watering during the festival week’. R. Jeremiah put all objection to him [R. Zera]: BUT... NOT WATERED FROM [STORED] RAIN NOR BY THAT OF A SWIPE-WELL!17 — Said R. Zera to him: Jeremiah, my son, these Babylonian pools are like water [pools] that do not fail.18

Our Rabbis taught: Ditches and pools19 [even though] filled with water on the day before the festival are debarred from being used for watering during the festival week,20 but if a canal passes between them they may be used. Said R. Papa: This is only provided that the greater part of that field obtains its supply from that canal.21 R. Ashi said that [they may be used] even if the greater part of that field does not obtain its supply [from that canal], because since its flow is continuous [the owner] says. if it [the field] does not get enough drink on [this] one day, it will [soon] get its drink in two or three days.’22 Our Rabbis taught: ‘If a pool gets tricklings from23 an irrigated field [higher up], it may be used for watering another field’.24 But is it not going [ultimately] to give out? — Said R. Jeremiah: For the present at any rate it is still trickling! Said Abaye: This is [permitted] only so long as the first source has not given out.25

It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Menassia says: Where two cultivated beds lie one above the other, one should not26 draw from the [supply of the] lower to water the upper. R. Eleazar b. Simeon went even further, saying: Even in one bed, if half of it is low and the other half higher one should not draw from the low-lying part to water the upper part.

Our Rabbis taught: ‘One may raise [medallin]27 for the vegetables if they are to be eaten; but if it is to improve their appearance it is forbidden’. Rabina and Rabbah of Thospia28 were [once] walking on the road when they saw a certain man drawing buckets of water during the festival week.29 Said Rabbah of Thospia to Rabina: Come, Sir, put a ban30 on him. Said Rabina to him, But is it not taught: ‘One may raise31 for vegetables to be eaten’? — Replied Rabbah, Do you think that this medallin means one may raise water [in buckets]?32 [No], what medallin means is

(1) Accordingly ‘ploughing’ is Biblically forbidden in the pre-sabbatical extension and the offender would be liable to a flogging were it not for the inferences derived from the other text of Lev. XXV, 4-5, as expounded above, 3a. Cf. Tosaf. 3b s.v. שהרי and Han.
(2) I.e., not ordained to be done on any particular day.
(3) ‘The sheaf of the first fruit of your (barley) harvest’. V. Lev. XXIII, 10ff. R. Ishmael holds that this may be reaped even on Sabbath. R. Ishmael's statement is for the moment irrelevant, though it comes in later. R. Akiba's dictum shows that the extension, i.e., the pre-sabbatical bar on tillage, is not merely a pristine halachah-usage, but has textual basis.
(4) Cf. M. Sheb. I, 4 and Mak., Sonc. ed. p. 48.
(5) Down to New Year's eve.
(6) Thirty days before New Year, which prohibition was extended by Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel to Passover and Feast of Weeks, according to the field.
(7) Who, unlike R. Akiba, uses that text for another point, namely, as permitting reaping the barley for the ‘omer even on a Sabbath, if that is the date.
(8) Gezerah shawah (V. Glos.) which some admit and others do not.
(9) I.e., Ex. XXXIV, 21 taken with Lev. XXV, 2 (‘a Sabbath-rest year-unto the Lord’).
(10) Mentioned together with the tradition regarding the ten saplings, supra 3b.
(11) With the fall of the Temple and the Jewish State many of the laws appertaining to the Temple and the Land fell into abeyance owing to the force of circumstances. Recently, I. S. Zuri has attempted to establish that Rabban Gamaliel's abrogation was enacted soon after May 215 C.E. when Caracalla entered Antioch and thence marched his armies through Palestine on his way to Egypt, when the people had to pay ‘annonae’ to feed the armies. V. his שלטון הנשיאות והועד I, Vol. III, 58-59.
(12) If stored rain water is permitted, one will also work a shadoof.
(13) When much of it has been drawn off he will have to go deep down with his bucket, with almost as much exertion as from a shadoof.
(14) [And we do not apprehend the possibility of the pool drying up when he might go and fetch water from another river, with all the extra trouble it involves.]
(15) R. Ashi.
(16) R. Johanan, who prohibits rain water on account of a swipe-well.
(17) [Presumably because we apprehend lest he may go deep down with his bucket should the water be drawn off and the same should apply to the case of R. Zera.]
(18) And there is no likelihood of leading to exertion during the Festival Week.
(19) The former rough-cut and the latter well-made (Commentators on Alfasi). J.M.K. I, 1 reads הפיסקין והבריכה, which points to the Latin piscina, reservoir, swimming bath or fish-tank.
(20) Because their supply comes from a distance and may entail exertion should the supply fail.
(21) I.e., if the supply is plentiful.
(22) Because he will get what he may and if not enough will readily wait for a day or two for another chance, without going to exertion during the festival week.
(23) [So MS.M. Cur. edd. ‘trickles water (which one gets) from’].
(24) Tosef M.K. I, 1; J.M.K. I, 1.
(25) But once the trickling has ceased the pool has lost its supply and becomes like a swipe-well or stored rain water likely to entail exertion.
(26) During the festival week.
(27) [מדלין either (i) ‘medallin’ (from דלה), ‘raise water by means of buckets’, hence irrigate; or (ii) madlin (from דלל) ‘to lift (vegetables)’ for thinning the beds. At present the first rendering is assumed].
(28) The capital of the Armeman district Thospitis.,
(29) To water his vegetables.
(30) שמתא cf. infra 17a.
(31) מדלין or מדלין from דלה to raise, draw water with bucket (דלי).

(32) In the course of the festival week.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 4b

to pull out [vegetables],1 as we learned:2 ‘If one is [engaged in] thinning3 vines, just as he may thin his own, so also he may thin those due to the poor;4 so R. Judah. R. Meir says: He is permitted [to attend] to his own but not to those of the poor’.5 Said Rabina: But it is taught [explicitly]: ‘One may raise water for vegetables if they are to be eaten’! — Said Rabbah [of Thospia] to Rabina: If it is thus taught, that settles the matter.6

NOR MAY SMALL BASINS [‘UGIOTH] BE FORMED ABOUT THE VINES. What is meant by ‘ugioth?7 — Said Rab Judah, [What we call] banki.8 It is also taught thus: These are ‘ugioth; light hoeing done about the roots of olives and at the roots of vines.9 [But] this is not so, for did not Rab Judah allow the family of Bar-Zittai10 to make banki in their vineyards? — This is not difficult: The one statement [in the Mishnah] refers to fresh [trenchings], the other [Rab Judah's] refers to re-trenching.11

R. ELEAZAR B. AZARIAH SAYS A [WATER] CHANNEL MAY NOT BE NEWLY MADE [DURING THE FESTIVAL WEEK, NOR IN THE SABBATICAL YEAR; BUT THE SAGES SAY].12 It is perfectly in order in regard to the festival week, because he performs laborious work, but what reason can there be [against making a channel] in the sabbatical year? — R. Zera and R. Abba b. Memel differ in the matter: One says [it is forbidden] because [the digger] seems to be doing spading [in his field]; the other says, because he is [thereby] preparing the banks for sowing. What is the [practical] difference between the two [explanations]? — There is a difference where water comes along forthwith; according to the one who says that [it is] because he is preparing the banks for sowing, there is [still an objection], but according to the one who says that [it is] because he seems to be doing spading, there is none.13 But, the one who objects on the ground that he seems to be doing spading, should he not likewise object on the ground that he seems to be preparing the bank for sowing? — Rather, the [practical] difference between them is where he takes [the mould] from the trench and throws it outside. According to the one who says that [it is] because he seems to be preparing the banks for sowing, there is no objection, whereas according to the one who says that [it is] because he seems to be spading, there is [still an objection]. But, he who takes the view that he seems to be preparing the banks for sowing, should he not likewise admit the objection that he seems to be doing spading? — [No,] because one who does spading, as soon as he takes up a spadeful he puts it down again in its place.

Amemar taught this [clause of the] Mishnah with the explanation [that R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah forbids making a channel] ‘because he seems to be doing spading [in his field]’14 but felt some difficulty about it in view of another statement of R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah. Could R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah [said he] have held the view that wherever one seems to be spading [his field],14 it is forbidden? And he contrasted that with the [statement in the] following [Mishnah]:15 One may lay up a store of manure [in his field].14 R. Meir says he may not until he places it either three handbreadths below or three handbreadths above [the surface]. If he had some small quantity [already there] he may go on adding thereto. R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah says [even then] he may not until he puts it down either three handbreadths below, or raises it three handbreadths above [the surface],16 or places it on a rock!’ — R. Zera and R. Abba b. Memel [explained this seeming discrepancy], one said: [The latter Mishnah means where], for instance, he has had the place excavated; the other said: [The reason there is because] the manure heap itself attests his intention.17

AND [A CHANNEL] THAT HAS GOT OUT OF ORDER MAYBE RE-PAIRED. What is meant by OUT OF ORDER? — Said R. Abba:18 ‘It means that if it is [now, for instance] but one handbreadth in depth, he may restore it to [a depth of] six handbreadths’. It is obvious that [to restore it] from half a handbreadth to [the original] three, seeing that there was [originally] scarcely any flow of water, it is nothing at all;19 [to deepen it] front two handbreadths to [the original] twelve20 which involves extra exertion,21 is not [allowed]. What about [deepening it] front two [handbreadths] to [the original] seven? [Do we argue that] as in the first instance [it was explained above] he deepens it by five handbreadths, [from one to six], so here he deepens it by five handbreadths [from two to seven];22 or, maybe that as in this instance he [actually] deepens the channel by an extra handbreadth there is extra exertion, and hence it is forbidden? — It stands undecided.

Abaye allowed the people of Harmek to clear away23 [the growths obstructing]24 the canal.25 R. Jeremiah allowed the people of Sacutha to dredge the canal that had become blocked.26 R. Ashi allowed the people of Matha-Mehasia to clear obstructions from the river Barnis, saying that as the public obtained their drinking water from it it was virtually a [pressing] public need, and we learn: AND ALL PUBLIC NEEDS MAY BE PERFORMED.

(1) I.e., one may lift vegetables for thinning and improving the crop. If the vegetables pulled up are to be eaten in the course of the festival week, and it should be vocalized to read madlin.
(2) Pe'ah VII, 5. Cf. IV.
(3) מידל from דלל

(4) V. Lev. XIX, 10; Deut. XXIV, 21.
(5) Because he has no right to handle them, as if they were his.
(6) It is taught.
(7) Grooves, ditchlets, or circular depressions, or trenching drawn around a group of vines. V. n. 5 on Mishnah.
(8) Little hollows, basins.
(9) Tosef. M.K. I, 2. Cf. Ibid. Sheb. I.
(10) A well-known family referred to in Yeb. 21b.
(11) Lit., ‘old ones’.
(12) V. Mishnah 2a.
(13) The flow of water in the trench shows that he has no intention of spading the field.
(14) In the sabbatical year.
(15) Sheb. III, 3.
(16) Here R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah permits digging in the field in the sabbatical year to prepare a place for the manure store without seeming concern about giving a wrong impression, that he is said to have had in his mind when he prohibited the making of a water channel.
(17) Lit., ‘is the proof for him’. Cf. J.M.K. I, 2. J. Sheb. III, 2.
(18) D.S. react Abbahu.
(19) It is useless work to be done in the festival week (Rashi).
(20) That is, proportionately double, i.e., from one to six and from two to twelve.
(21) V. supra 2a, pp. 3 and 4.
(22) And it should therefore be permitted.
(23) During the festival week.
(24) Projecting from the banks, or weeds choking the canal.
(25) Or stream.
(26) According to J.M.K. I, 2 it was a public bathing pool that had got into disorder at Sacutha and R. Abbahu allowed the repairing to be done in the festival week.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 5a

AND IMPAIRED WATER-WORKS1 IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN MAY BE REPAIRED AND CLEANED OUT. [That is to say only] to repair, but not to be dug [afresh]. Said R. Jacob as reporting R. Johanan: This was taught only where there is no public need; but where there is public need2 for it even [fresh] digging is allowed.

And where there is a public need is digging allowed? Surely it is taught: ‘Wells,3 ditches or caverns of a private person may be cleaned out, and needless to say, those of the public; but wells, ditches or caverns of the public may not be dug and still less those of a private person’.4 Does not that mean that [digging is not allowed] even where the public has need of it? — No, [only] where the public has no need of it. Then similarly the reference to a private person is where the private person has no need of it, but in that case is ‘cleaning out’ allowed? Surely it is taught: ‘Wells, ditches or caverns of a private person may have water run into them, but they may not be cleaned out, nor have their cracks plastered; but those of the public may be cleaned out and their cracks may be plastered’? — But what else [are we to say] but that the private person has need of it; in which case [the references to the public is similarly where the public has need of it? But where the public has need of it, is digging forbidden? Surely it is taught: ‘Wells, ditches or caverns of a private person may have water run into them or be cleaned out; but their cracks may not be plastered, nor may the scourings be put into them,5 nor may they be plastered with cement. But those of the public may be dug and plastered with cement’.6 But [if so], the first [Baraitha] is difficult. Explain it thus: ‘Wells, [ditches or caverns] of a private person [may be cleaned out]’ — providing he has need of them, ‘and needless to say those of the public’ — when the public has need of them, as then, even digging is allowed.7 ‘But wells, ditches or caverns of the public are not to be dug’ — when the public has no need of them, ‘still less, those of a private person’, as when a private person has no need of them, even cleaning out is not allowed. R. Ashi remarked: Our own Mishnah is also precisely worded [to the same effect] as it states AND ALL PUBLIC NEEDS MAY BE PERFORMED. What is the force of ALL? Is it not meant to include digging? — No; it is to include [other instances] such as are taught [in the following]: ‘They [Public Commissioners] go forth to clear the roads of thorns, to mend the broadways and [main] highways and to measure the [ritual] pools; and if any [ritual] pools be found short of forty [cubic] se'ahs of water8 they train a continuous flow into it [to ensure] forty se'ahs’. And whence do we know that if they did not go forth and attend to all these [public needs], then if any blood be shed there [through] this neglect [Scripture] lays [blame] on them, as if they themselves had shed it? From the instructive text, And so blood be upon thee.9 But surely [the Mishnah does] state these instances expressly: AND ROADS, BROADWAYS AND [RITUAL] WATER POOLS AND ALL PUBLIC NEEDS MAY BE PERFORMED! What else [then] may be included under this word ALL? Is it not digging [afresh if required by the public]? This proves it.

AND GRAVESIDES MAY BE MARKED. R. Simeon b. Pazzi said: Where is an indication in the Torah that gravesides should be marked? In the instructive text: [And when they pass through . . . the land] and one seeth a man's bone then shall he set up a sign by it.10 Said Rabina to R. Ashi, But who told us that11 before Ezekiel came? — [Said the other]: Accepting your view, with regard to the statement made by R. Hisda12 [namely]: This point we do not learn from the law of our Master Moses; we learn it from the words of [prophet] Ezekiel the son of Buzi: No alien, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My Sanctuary.13 [We might equally ask], who had told us that before Ezekiel came and stated it? Only, that was first learnt by oral tradition and then Ezekiel came and gave us a textual basis for it; here too, it was first learnt as an oral tradition and then Ezekiel came and gave us a textual basis for it. R. Abbahu suggested that it may be derived from this [text]: And he shall cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’14 [That is], impurity cries out [to the passer-by] and tells him, ‘Keep off!’ And R. ‘Uzziel, the grandson of the elder R. ‘Uzziel said the same, [that] impurity cries out and tells him, ‘Keep off!’ But was this [text] intended for this lesson? It is required for what has been taught: And he shall cry ‘Unclean! Unclean!’; [this teaches that] one must needs make his distress known to many, that many pray for mercy on his behalf? — If that be so, let the text read ‘Unclean’ [but once]; why has it ‘Unclean’, ‘Unclean’ [twice over]? Infer [from it] the two points. Abaye said [that the rule15 may be derived] from here: And put not a stumbling-block before the blind.16 R. Papa said: And he will say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, clear the way.17 R. Hinena suggested, Take up the stumbling-block out of the way of My people.17 R. Joshua the son of R. Idi said: And thou shalt show them the way wherein they must walk.18 Mar Zutra said: And ye shall separate the Children of Israel from their uncleanness.19 R. Ashi said: And they shall have charge of My charge,20 [which implies], make safeguards to My charge. Rabina said: And to him who ordereth21 [we-sam] his way will I show the salvation of God.22

Said R. Joshua b. Levi, Whoever appraises [ha-sham] his ways [in this life]23 becomes privileged to behold the salvation of the Holy One, blessed be He, for it is said: ‘[And to him] who ordereth his way’.22 Read not [we-sam]24 who sets [his way], but [we-sham]25 who appraises the worth [of his way], him will I show the divine salvation. R. Jannai had a certain disciple who daily raised critical points [at his college]26 but refrained from raising any critical points at the periodic lectures of the Festival Sabbaths27

(1) Damaged wells or cisterns, etc. Cf. Mishnah n. 6.
(2) Lit., ‘where the public needs them.’ Though there be no immediate need for it, yet ‘cleaning out’ may be done in the festival week.
(3) Or ‘cisterns, pits.
(4) Note the absence of the proviso of ‘need’ in this Baraitha, which seemingly contradicts R. Johanan's quoted comment above.
(5) To fill the cracks.
(6) The first Baraitha, which forbids digging public wells even when the public has need of them, contradicts this latter Baraitha which permits.
(7) In agreement with R. Johanan's ruling.
(8) The minimum quantity of natural flowing water, calculated to allow an average person to go in and submerge himself completely. V. Mak., Sonc. ed. p. 13, n. 2.
(9) Deut. XIX, 10 in conjunction with verse 3, and Num. XXXV, 12 and 25, which was a public charge.
(10) Ezek. XXXIX, 15. This is a mere allusion as the verse refers to the future.
(11) In the Pentateuch, the main source of Law.
(12) V. Ta'an 17a and 17b.
(13) Ezek. XLIV, 9.
(14) The leper, in his state of uncleanness, shall warn those who approach him. Lev. XIII, 45.
(15) For marking off graves.
(16) Lev. XIX, 14. A travelling priest or pilgrim might by stepping unawares on a grave become defiled.
(17) Isa. LVII, 14.
(18) Ex. XVIII, 20.
(19) Lev. XV, 31; which with Num. XIX, 13, 20 has a special bearing on this marking for pilgrims on their way to visit the Temple and celebrate the Passover (Num. IX, 6ff).
(20) Lev. XXII, 9 as referring especially to priests and Levites who are charged again and again with repeated warnings. Cf. Num. XVIII, 3,4,5.
(21) In the sense of marking off the unclean paths for the people to avoid.
(22) Ps. L, 23.
(23) Some texts add these words.
(24) From the root שם to put, place, set out, e.g., Ex. XXI, 13 and especially Isa. XLIII, 19.
(25) From the later Hebrew שם, to estimate, the value or worth of an object or claim.
(26) Often this task was assigned to the most prominent member of the college or the Vice-principal.
(27) When many strangers were gathered to hear the master on the topics of the day. Cf. B.M. 97a.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 5b

. He [R. Jannai] applied to him the text: And to him who ordereth his way will I show the salvation of God.1

Our Rabbis taught: ‘No markings are made to indicate [the presence of] a piece of flesh2 [from a corpse] no larger than an olive, nor of [human] bone no larger than a barley-corn,3 nor of any [human] remains which do not diffuse defilement under ‘tent’.4 But markings are made to indicate [the presence of] a [human] spine, a skull or the major members of a skeleton or the major number of lesser bones thereof.5 And the markings are not made in cases of certainty6 but [only] in cases of uncertainty. These are [instances of] uncertainty: Leafy bowers,7 jutting ledges8 and a Peras-area.9 And the markings are not placed on the site of the impurity [itself], in order to avoid wasting what is [preserved as] pure;10 nor is the marking placed far away from the spot, in order to avoid wasting any space11 of the Land of Israel’.12 But does not flesh of an olive's size from a human body diffuse defilement under a tent? For we learned: ‘The following diffuse defilement by tent [overspreading]: Flesh of an olive's size from a human dead body . . .’! — Said R. Papa, We speak here of an olive's size precisely which after all shrinks [to less]: far better is it that terumah and other meats that are pure13 should be burnt [unnecessarily] on one occasion14 than that they should be burnt continuously.15

And these are [instances] of uncertainty: Leafy bowers and jutting ledges.16 ‘Leafy bowers’ [means] a tree which overspreads the ground17 and ‘jutting ledges’ are [stones]18 projecting from wall enclosure.17 ‘And a Peras-area’: as we learned: ‘One who runs a plough over a grave makes the site a Peras-area’; and how much thereof has he thus affected? The full length of a furrow, one hundred cubits [each way].19 But does a Peras-area convey defilement by tent? Surely, Rab Judah, citing Samuel, said that one [a pilgrim] may walk across a Peras-area cautiously fanning his way [in front of him]!20 Moreover, R. Judah b. Ammi, in the name of ‘Ulla, said that a Peras-area which has been [much] trampled is [considered as] clean?21 — Said R. Papa: ‘This [discrepancy] is not difficult [to explain]. The former statement refers to a field where a grave has become lost;22 whereas the latter refers to a field where a grave had been run over by the plough’.23 But is a field where a grave has been lost24 [correctly] called a Peras-area? — Yes [indeed], for we learned: ‘There are three kinds of Peras-areas — [a] a field where a grave has been lost25 [b] a field where a grave has been run over by the plough26 and [c] the weepers’ field’.27 What is the weepers’ field? — R. Joshua28 b. Abba explained in the name of ‘Ulla that it is a field where they bid final farewell29 to the dead. And wherefore [is it held as a defiling area]? — Said [R. Hisda, as reporting]30 Abimi, [It is] because there is here a possibility31 of abandoned ownership.32 But does not a field where a grave has been run over by the plough require to be marked? Surely it is taught: ‘If one came upon a marked field without knowing its character,33 then if there are trees on it,it is thereby indicated that a grave in it had been run over by the plough;34 if there are no trees, it is thereby indicated that a grave has been lost in it.35 R. Judah says: [The presence of trees is no criterion] until there is some elder or disciple [to attest it], for not all are well versed on the subject [of proper markings]’! — Said R. Papa: What is taught in this [latter Baraitha] refers to a field in which a grave had been lost, and which had [consequently] been marked. If there are trees on it, it is thereby indicated that a grave had been run over by the plough [subsequently]; if there are no trees on it, it is indicated that a grave had been lost in it.36 But is there not a danger that the trees are situate within the field and the grave was outside?37 — as ‘Ulla said [elsewhere that we speak of a case where]38 the trees are situate on the boundaries [of the field] here likewise they were situate on the boundary line.39

(1) In appreciation of his disciple's thoughtful considerateness towards himself on those special public occasions. Cf. Ta'an. 9b and B.K. 117a.
(2) As flesh soon shrinks to less than its (traditional) minimum size of an olive and is then impotent to cause defilement without direct contact, Num. XIX, 13-16; Ohal. II, 3.
(3) Which is (traditionally) the minimum size for human bone to cause defilement by direct contact. V. references in previous note and Tosaf. s.v. עצם

(4) Anything extending to one handbreadth over dead human remains represents the ‘tent’ of Num. XIX, 14, to diffuse defilement without contact, unless it is less than the minimum size.
(5) Any of these enumerated defile under cover without coming into direct contact with the object or grave. Any covering to the extent of one handbreadth, say his coat tail or sleeve spread, or hanging down over the spot, is enough to defile him, even if neither he nor his garment touch the unclean thing or spot.
(6) As people take care of their own accord not to run the risk of personal defilement or the loss of sacred meats.
(7) Lit., ‘coverings’, arbours, groves, avenues or single trees whose thick branches are full of folliage, constitute a ‘tent’, to spread the defilement to the walker; cf. Tosaf. s.v. אילן

(8) E.g., stone copings, boards and ledges projecting from cemetery walls each way within and without, constitute a ‘tent’. These are doubtful, as one is not certain whether there is a corpse near by within.
(9) Defined lower down. On the term v. Pes., Sonc. ed. p. 492, n. 4.
(10) Which may be brought close to the grave and defiled before one is aware. To those pure’ things belong e.g., the priest's due — terumah ‘first-fruits’, ‘second tithe’, etc. Cf. Num. XVIII, 11-13;26-30.
(11) I.e., declaring any of it unclean unnecessarily.
(12) Cf. Sot. 30b.
(13) Reading טהרות (instead of קדשים), as holy sacrificial meat is not carried about.
(14) While the human dead flesh, soon after the burial is still of the size potent to defile.
(15) Through the unnecessary space included in the marking. Holy food or drink (wine, corn, fruit and oil) could not be given away or thrown away, it had to be burnt.
(16) Explaining the above technical terms.
(17) Near a cemetery; Ohal. VIII, 2.
(18) The word ‘stones’ is omitted in the above Baraitha as the fence or wall enclosure may be any of other materials.
(19) Ibid. XVII, 1. (Cf. ‘furlong’ as the length of a furrow).
(20) With bellows or a spade to blow away from his path, without touching any piece of splintered bone cast up by the plough. They used to bury the dead in a very shallow grave, barely three handbreadths under the surface, which were therefore easily exposed. Cf. Tosaf. s.v. מנפה and Ohal. XVIII, 5.
(21) And need not be marked or avoided. (Han.).
(22) And, as it cannot be located, the whole field is considered a place of defilement.
(23) The plough, we assume, crushes the bones rendering them impotent to communicate tent-defilement.
(24) So according to Wilna Gaon. Cur. edd., that was ploughed over.
(25) Ohal. XVIII, 3.
(26) Ibid. 2.
(27) Ibid. 4’
(28) Better D.S.; ‘R. Hoshaia in the name of ‘Ulla’.
(29) The ‘broad place’ or forum provided on the cemetery.
(30) So D.S. and Ritba.
(31) Lit., ‘a touch of’, contingency.
(32) Loose limbs may have been dropped in transit, which the mourners being unable to identify, leave abandoned. On the practice of collecting bones after temporary burial and transferring them to their permanent place of rest v. infra 8a and Ber. 18a.
(33) Whether a grave had been lost in it, and the field cannot then be traversed by ‘fanning’, or whether the grave had the plough run over it in which case it may be traversed by ‘fanning’.
(34) For the sake of the trees, this shows that a field in which a grave had been run over by the plough is marked.
(35) As such a field is not to be planted, Ohal. XVIII, 3; Tosef. Ohal. XVII.
(36) And had not been ploughed over.
(37) I.e., where the soil had not been ploughed, so that it is treated like a field wherein a grave had been lost.
(38) Ned. 42b.
(39) And since dead are not buried on the road, the grave must be among the trees and has been run over by the plough, when the field has been tilled for the good of the trees.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 6a

But perhaps the defilement lies within the field while the trees stand on the outer sides [of it]?1 — They were planted irregularly.2 Or, if you like, I may explain by what was said above: Nor is the marking placed far away from the spot, in order to avoid wasting any space of the Land of Israel.3

‘R. Judah says [the presence of trees is no criterion] until there be some elder or disciple [to attest that it has been ploughed], for not all are well versed in the subject [of markings]’. Said Abaye: You may infer from here, that when a scholar is resident in a place, all local matters devolve upon him.

Said Rab Judah: If one comes across a [single] stone which is marked [with lime], the space under it is defiled; if two stones [with markings] then if there is lime on the space between them, the space between is defiled, and if there is no lime between them, the intervening space is clean, even though there is no [sign of] tilling [there]. But surely it is taught: ‘If one comes upon one stone which is marked, the space under it is defiled, if on two stones, if there is tilling between them, the intervening space is clean, if not, it is defiled’? — Said R. Papa. Here [it is a case where] the lime had been poured on top of the stones and got spread here and there. [Now] if there is any tilling [in the space] between them, [the space] between is clean, because it may be presumed that the [splashed] lime had got peeled off by the tilling; whereas if there is not [any trace of tilling] the lime is intended to mark the space between and it is ‘defiled’.

Said R. Assi:4 If one boundary is marked, that side [alone] is ‘defiled’, but the rest of the entire field is ‘clean’. If two [are marked] those [alone] are ‘defiled’, but the rest of the entire field is ‘clean’; if three [are marked], those are ‘defiled’, but the rest of the entire field is clean; if the four [boundaries are marked] they are clean and the entire field [within] is ‘defiled’,for the Master5 said: ‘Nor is the marking place far away from the spot, in order to avoid wasting space of the Land of Israel’.6

AND [PUBLIC COMMISSIONERS] SET OUT [ALSO] TO INSPECT DIVERSE SEED-CROPS. But do we set out for inspecting seed-crops during the festival week? This is contradicted by the [following]: On the first of Adar announcements are made about the [contribution of] shekels and about the diverse crops. On the fifteenth thereof the scroll [of Esther] is read in the [ancient] walled cities and [commissioners] go forth to clear the roads of thorns, mend the broadways, measure the [ritual] water-pools and to perform all public needs, and they mark the gravesides and go forth to inspect the diverse seed-crops?7 — R. Eleazar and R. Jose b. Hanina [gave differing explanations], One said, The latter statement speaks of earlier crops,8 the other of later9 crops; the other said, In one case8 [they go out to attend] to grain crops, in the others to vegetable crops.

R. Assi, reporting R. Johanan said: The rule laid down [in the Mishnah] applies only when the sproutings [of the season are late and] had not become recognizable10 [before then]; but where the sproutings had become recognizable [before], they went forth about them [even earlier].

Why do we particularly set out during the festival week? R. Jacob reporting R. Johanan explained that it was because the wages given for labour are then low with us.11

R. Zebid, or some say, R. Mesharsheya said: From the afore — mentioned [explanation] you may infer that when pay was given,12 it was given them out of the Terumah of the [Shekel] Chamber;13 for if you should suppose that they [the owners of the fields] themselves paid, what difference does it make to us? Let them pay whatever they ask.14

And how much [constitutes an admixture]?15 Said R. Samuel b. Isaac, The same as we learned:16 Every se'ah of seeds that contains one quarter [of a kab]17

(1) And the grave has not been disturbed at all. What is the indication of the trees in such a case?
(2) Not in even rows, but promiscuously and thus the whole site had to be disturbed by the ploughing.
(3) [And since the marking is in proximity to the trees, it is evident that the defilement lay between the trees].
(4) Explaining the precise principle and system of marking, by confining the markings close to the spot of defilement.
(5) In the Baraitha, supra 5b.
(6) [Consequently where the whole field was defiled the whole of the four boundaries had to be marked. As to the cleanliness of the boundaries themselves, v. Tosaf. s.v. אמר]

(7) Shek. I, 1. Meg. 13b.
(8) In mid Adar.
(9) In our Mishnah again directing it to be done in mid Nisan during the festival week.
(10) Cf. e.g., Ex. IX, 32.
(11) As ordinary work, apart from emergencies, is suspended during the festival week.
(12) For the work.
(13) V. Shek. III, 1.
(14) As this was a punitive campaign against the inobservant, let them be mulcted.
(15) What quantity of diverse seeds necessitate; the pulling up of the (offensive) crop?
(16) In reference to initial sowing, Kil. II, 1.
(17) A se'ah contains six kabs and a quarter of a kab's admixture is therefore one twenty-fourth of the se'ah, or enough seed to be sown in a field of 50 X 50 cubits.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 6b

of another kind must be reduced.1 But it is taught: They [the authorities] introduced a rule that they should declare ownerless the [crop of the] entire field? — That is not difficult [to explain]. The former [Mishnah] states the practice before the [new] rule, while the latter [of the Baraitha] gives the practice after the [introduction] of the rule, as it is [distinctly] taught: Formerly they [the public commissioners] used to uproot [the diverse-crop], throwing it to the cattle, at which the owners were doubly pleased, for one thing that they weeded their fields for them, and again that they threw [the forbidden crop] to the cattle; thereupon they made a [new] regulation that they should pull up [the forbidden crop] and cast it on the road. And still the owners were greatly pleased, because they weeded their fields. Thereupon they instituted that they should declare ownerless the crop of the entire field.2


GEMARA. [NOT...THE ENTIRE FIELD]. Said Rab Judah,8 If the field has a clayey9 soil he may [water it].10 It is likewise taught:11 When they said12 that it is forbidden to water them during the festival [week], they referred only to seeds that had not drunk before the festival; but seeds that had drunk before the festival may [again] be watered during the festival [week]; and if the field was a clayey soil, it is allowed [to water it]. And a bare13 field is not watered during the festival [week]; but the Sages allow it14 in the one case and in the other. Said Rabina: You may infer from here that a garden plot may be sprinkled15 in the festival week. For in the case of a bare field, why is it [permitted]?16 Because it just quickens a tardy soil; here too, it just quickens a tardy soil.

Our Rabbis taught: ‘A white field may be sprinkled17 in the sabbatical year, but not during the festival [week]’. But it has been taught: It may be sprinkled either in the sabbatical year or during the festival [week]?18 — Said R. Huna, This [discrepancy] is not difficult [to explain]; the former [quotation] states the view of R. Eliezer b. Jacob19 and the latter that of the Rabbis.20 Another [Baraitha] taught: A white field may be21 sprinkled in the pre-sabbatical year so that the greens may sprout in the sabbatical year. Nay, more, a white field may be21 sprinkled in the sabbatical year, so that the greens may sprout [better] in the post-sabbatical year.


GEMARA. What is ESHUTH?24 — Said Rab Judah: [It is] a creature which has no eyes. Raba b. Ishmael, some say, R. Yemar b. Shelemia, said, What [may be the] text [for this]? — ‘Let them [the wicked] be as a snail which melteth and passeth away; like the young mole [esheth]25 which hath not seen the sun.26

Our Rabbis taught: Moles and mice may be trapped in a white field and in a tree-field in the usual way and ants’ holes may also be destroyed. How are they destroyed? Rabbah Simeon b. Gamaliel says: Earth is fetched from one hole and put into another and they27 strangle each other. R. Yemar b. Shelemia said in the name of Abaye, That is [effective] only if [the nests are] situate on two sides of the river; and that [again], if there is no bridge; and that [again], if there is not [even] a [crossing] plank; and that [again], if there is not even a rope [to cross by].

(1) Or when already sown and sprouting the admixture is to be pulled up.
(2) As a deterrent, s.v. Shek. 1, 3.
(3) If the fruit-trees need it.
(4) I.e., under this pretext.
(5) Grain crops, white and leguminous, in contrast to fruit-trees.
(6) Either because they then require fuller attention, entailing greater exertion, or to discourage leaving the task for this week of leisure.
(7) The Sages disagree in both clauses of the Mishnah, i.e., that they do allow watering the entire orchard by training from tree to tree, and allow watering seeds even if they had not been watered before the festival.
(8) D.S.: R. Huna.
(9) ‘Trees, shrubs . . . generally thrive better in heavy soil’. ‘Clays are especially of a pourous nature and consequently retentive of water and plant food’. H. J. Webb, Element, Agriculture, 1896, p. 20.
(10) Otherwise the soil goes hard.
(11) Var. lec. insert, R. Eliezer b. Jacob said.
(12) R. Eliezer b. Jacob and those who share his view.
(13) I.e., a plot uncultivated at the moment; cf. Pes. 55a and Lewin Otz. Hag. IV, 3, No. 6, p. 10.
(14) Both in the case of seeds that were not watered before the festival, and in the case of a bare field when an extra chance supply of water occurs, thereby to fit the soil for its turn to be sown or planted.
(15) By hand, jug or watering pot but not by regular irrigation, I.e., running the water into the field by ridges or channels.
(16) According to the Rabbis. So taken in Otz. Hag. l.c. and Tosaf. here s.v. hwr but Han. explains differently.
(17) Of cereals and legumina. Rashi here takes it as a Baal-field, i.e., one favourably situated as regards rain and sunshine.
(18) This is in agreement with Rashi and Tosaf. according to the reading in our text. Var. lec.: ‘May not be sprinkled... neither in the sabbatical year nor during the festival (week)’. V. Han. Alfasi. The reading is discussed by the Tosafist R. Shimshon (b. Abraham) of Sens in his commentary on Sheb. II, 10.
(19) Who disallows (in the Mishnah) watering the whole field in the festival week (and sprinkling marrows with ‘white earth’ even in the sabbatical year). Sheb. II, 10 q.v.
(20) Both in our Mishnah and in the first cited Baraitha, as regards the tree-field and seeds.
(21) Tosef. Sheb. II, 1 reads ‘a field’.
(22) Mishnah texts read here ‘not in the usual way’.
(23) Var. lec. R. Judah; v. Gemara infra. Obviously, it is ultimately the view adopted by the Sages. 7a.
(24) The Hebrew word for ‘moles’ in the Mishnah.
(25) Biblical Hebrew for Eshuth.
(26) Ps. LVIII, 9.
(27) The ants of the two nests not knowing each other.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 7a

How much [apart]? — Up to a parasang.1

R. JUDAH2 SAYS: IN THE TREE-FIELD IN THE USUAL WAY AND IN THE WHITE FIELD NOT IN THE USUAL WAY. Our Rabbis taught: How is the usual way? He digs a hole and suspends a trap in it. How is the unusual way? He drives a stake [into the spot] or strikes it with a pick and flattens out the soil underneath.3 It is taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar4 says, When they5 said, [‘And in the white field not in the usual way’], they said it only in reference to a white field situate near the city; but in a white field that is situate near a tree-field [they may trap them] even in the usual way, lest these [pests] come away from the white field and destroy the tree-field.

AND A BREACH IS BLOCKED UP DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK]. How is it ‘blocked up’? — Said R. Joseph: With [a hurdle made of] twigs and daphne stakes. In a Baraitha it is taught: ‘Loose rubble is piled up without being plastered with clay.6 Said R. Hisda, This7 is taught only with regard to a garden wall,8 but the wall of a court9 is built in the usual way. Might one suggest that the following supports him: A wall that is bulging out into the public domain may be pulled down and built in the usual way, because it constitutes a danger [to the passers-by]!10 — [Not necessarily]. There the reason is as stated: ‘Because it constitutes a danger’. Some [put the argument] as follows: Come and hear: A wall that is bulging out into the public domain may be pulled down and built in the ordinary way, because it constitutes a danger. That is, where it constitutes a danger he may, but if it is not a danger he may not build. May we see in this a confutation of R. Hisda? — [Not necessarily], as R. Hisda might reply: There11 he may ‘pull down and build’, whereas here12 he may build13 but not pull down. Then let one in that case11 likewise [merely] pull down14 and not build!15 — If so, he might refrain even from pulling down.16 R. Ashi said: Our Mishnah, here, gives an indication to the same effect,17 for it states: BUT IN THE SABBATICAL YEAR, ONE BUILDS IN THE ORDINARY WAY. Now of what is it [that he may block up the breach]? If it means [the wall of] his courtyard, does this need to be stated?18 It can only be, therefore [a breach in] his garden [wall] although he might seem to be doing it in order to safeguard his fruits.19 You can infer it [from this].


GEMARA. It is taught: R. Meir says that an inspection is made [during the festival week] to make a lenient pronouncement but not for a severe one. R. Jose says: Neither for making a lenient nor a severe pronouncement;26 as, if you arrive at the necessity of having to make a lenient pronouncement [on the findings] you are [likewise] bound to make a severe pronouncement. Said Rabbi: R. Meir's statement seems appropriately applied to the case of an [observational] detention27 and R. Jose's to that of a decided leper.28

Said Raba, In the case of one who is [as yet nominally] ‘clean’,29 all are agreed that he is not examined.30 In regard to one under preliminary [observational] detention, all agree that he is examined;31 where a difference of opinion arises is

(1) Four Roman miles.
(2) V. Mishnah note.
(3) I.e., rams it down to flatten out the tunnelled cavities.
(4) Sheeltoth reads: R. Eleazar b. Jacob. Our reacting, however, is well attested.
(5) The Sages (adopting R. Judah's view).
(6) Cf. infra 11a.
(7) The ruling that he may merely block it up but not build in the usual way.
(8) Which can wait, as not much damage or loss could be caused by this temporary delay.
(9) As the Talmudic saying goes: ‘The breach invites the thief’ (Suk. 26a, SBH), or the possible loss of cattle or poultry, by straying.
(10) Tosef. I, 4; infra 13a.
(11) The case of a dangerous wall.
(12) Where there is no public danger.
(13) If it had already broken down.
(14) Just remove the danger.
(15) During the festival week, as in the other private case.
(16) It is therefore ultimately a case of public need which may be performed during the festival week. Cf J.M.K. a.l., ‘R. Hananiah in the name of R. Johanan (said), They permitted the last act thereof by reason of the first (the danger)’.
(17) As R. Hisda's interpretation.
(18) That he may build it in the ordinary way (cf. the discussion above).
(19) ‘Yet he may in the usual way in the Sabbatical year, but not in Festival week’.
(20) The technical points involved in the discussion of this Mishnah bearing on the diagnosis of the symptoms of (biblical) leprosy and the treatment of the patient are the following: (a) The diagnosis may be made by any expert, priest or layman, ‘save that the pronouncement of "cleanness" or "uncleanness" is assigned to the priest: if the priest be told that the man is "clean", he pronounces him clean; if he be told the man is "unclean", he pronounces him unclean’. Neg. III, 1. (b) On the findings of the first inspection the priest pronounced the patient either (i) as ‘clean’ and discharged, or as ‘unclean’, to be isolated; and (ii) in some cases of doubt, to be remanded for seven days’ observational detention. Cf. Lev. XIII, 2-4ff; Neg. III, 3-4. (c) After a second inspection in doubtful cases, the priest pronounced the patient either ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ as before, or if still in doubt a further remand for seven days’ observational detention. Cf. Lev. ibid. 5-8; 13-17; Neg. ibid. 5-6. (d) On the third and final inspection he declared him ‘clean’ and discharged or ‘unclean’ to be isolated, until he recovered from his affection. During these periods the patient was allowed to consort with his wife. (e) On his recovery the patient went through two ritual purifications, (i) a preliminary, outside the town and returned home for seven days, during which, however, he was not to consort with his wife; cf. Lev. XIV, 2-8; Neg. XIV, 1-2. He then went through a second ritual purification which admitted him to the sanctuary for the sacrificial rites. Lev. XIV, 9ff; Neg. ibid. 3 and 7ff.
(21) בתחילה seems best omitted here, as seems apparent from Raba's comment infra, and other ancient texts, e.g., Asheri and commentaries of Alfasi, although our editions of Alfasi as well as the Mishnah texts (Babylonian and Palestian) have it. V. Heller, Tosaf. Yom Tob and particularly Dr E. Baneth's full critical examination in his commentary on the Mishnah, Berlin,, 1925, Pt. II, p. 161, n. 26.
(22) This (bracketed) expression is in the Mishnah text and is essential here.
(23) If the findings warrant it, to pronounce him ‘clean’; and if not, to withhold the adverse pronouncement pending the festival.
(24) If the symptoms are unfavourable, to order an observational detention (first or second), or his isolation as a confirmed ‘unclean’ leper. Cf. supra, n. 11, b, c, and d.
(25) I.e., no inspection is to be made during the festival week.
(26) I.e., the view adopted by the Sages (in the Mishnah).
(27) V. p. 35, n. 3.
(28) After the first or second detention. V. the following discussion by Raba.
(29) I.e., who has not yet submitted to an inspection.
(30) During the festival.
(31) If he is pronounced ‘clean’ he is happy; if he is remanded for a second period he is no worse off.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 7b

in the case of one under a second [observational] detention: one Master [R. Meir] considers that it is left to [the discretion of] the priest, so that if the patient is [found] ‘clean’ he declares him ‘clean’, and if he is [found] ‘unclean’ he holds his peace; while the other Master [R.Jose] considers that, [since] it is written: [This is the law of the plague and leprosy. . .], to pronounce it clean or unclean,1 [the priest has no choice].2

The Master said: Said Rabbi, R. Jose's statement seems appropriately applied to the case of a decided leper3 and R. Meir's to one under [observational] detention.4 But the reverse5 is taught [elsewhere]? — Both versions are [variant] tannaitic interpretations of Rabbi's observation. One [authority]6 is of the opinion that the patient prefers the company of the world at large7 [during the Festival], while the other [authority]8 holds that he prefers to retain his wife's company.9

Is that to say that [according to Rabbi]10 a confirmed leper may have the use of the [conjugal] bed? — [Yes], it is taught: But he shall dwell outside his tent seven days,11 [that is] he shall be12 precluded from the use of the [conjugal] bed; for ‘tent’ means nothing but [living with] his wife, as it is said: Go, say unto them, return ye unto your tents.13 R. Judah says:14 [It is written,] [And after he is cleansed] they shall reckon for him seven days,15 [which implies that he is precluded only] while counting his seven days [‘after he is cleansed] but not while he is a confirmed leper’. R. Jose b. Judah says: ‘[I take it to mean he is precluded] while counting seven days [and] all the more so while he is a confirmed leper’. ‘And’ ‘said R. Hiyya: ‘I argued on this point before Rabbi’. Our Master! [said I], You taught that [King] Jotham could not have been born unto Uzziahu16 save during the time that he was a confirmed leper,17 [to which] Rabbi replied, ‘and I said so too’.18

Wherein do they differ? — R. Jose b. Judah argues that as the All Merciful has plainly indicated19 that a convalescent leper [‘shall dwell outside his tent’]20 while counting his seven days [of preliminary ritual purification] it is all the more [to be expected that he be apart from his wife] while being in the state of a confirmed leper; and the [other] Master [Rabbi] argues that what has been plainly indicated is [to be kept as] indicated and what has not been indicated is not [to be assumed as] indicated.21

[Reverting to Raba's explanation above], do you mean to say that [the postponement of an unfavourable pronouncement or of the time of inspection]22 is [solely] dependent on the discretion of the priest?23 — Yea, indeed, as it is taught [in the following]: And on a day when [raw flesh] shall be seen in him [he shall be unclean; and the priest shall lood on the raw flesh and pronounce him unclean],24 which means that there is a day when you do see it in him as well as a day when you do not see it in him. Hence said they [the Sages] that if a groom developed symptoms of leprosy they grant him [delay of inspection to the end of] the seven days of the [marriage] feast,25 whether it be his person, or his house26 or his garment27 [that is affected]; and likewise [if the symptoms developed] during a festival they grant him [the patient] all28 the seven days of the festival: thus R. Judah. Rabbi says: There is no need [to resort to this text] as it says: And the priest shall command that they empty the house29 [before the priest goes in to see the plague that all that is in the house be not made unclean].30 Now if [the inspection is] here delayed for his convenience, which is just an optional [matter],31 may it not all the more be deferred for his [due observance of a] religious obligation?32 What is the [actual] issue between them? — Said Abaye: Merely the different expository results obtained by each from his text. And Rab said, it is the delay of inspection in an optional [matter]33 that is the issue between them, R. Judah [holding] that from the [other] text [cited above by Rabbi]34 we cannot learn [this],35 as it is an anomaly,36

(1) Lev. XIII, 59.
(2) And he must declare one or the other, according to his findings.
(3) To make no inspection so as to avoid the adverse decision being given in the festival week.
(4) The order of the statements is reversed but not the substance.
(5) Viz., that R. Jose's ruling is appropriate to a case under second observation and R. Meir's to that of a confirmed leper.
(6) The second Baraitha which regards the view of R. Meir as appropriate to a confirmed leper and that of R. Jose to a case under second detention.
(7) Thus: R. Meir, having in mind a confirmed leper, says: ‘Inspect him now to mitigate his plight. If he is still a leper, he loses nothing. If he is found cured, he can at once get back to the town by beginning his first ritual cleansing; and although he has thereupon to part from his wife for seven days, he does not mind it as he prefers to get back to his friends in town’. And R. Jose, thinking of the case of a second detention, says: ‘No inspection! For if you find him a leper you must confirm him as such and send him into complete isolation, right away from everybody (save from his wife)’.
(8) The first Baraitha quoted.
(9) Thus: R. Jose, thinking of a confirmed leper says: ‘No inspection! For if you examine and find him clean" (cured), he must at once begin counting seven days of his ceremonial cleansing (referred to infra) and live apart from his wife. Leave him alone, therefore, just now; he prefers his wife's company to getting back to the town’. And R. Meir, thinking of a case of second observation, says: ‘Examine him to ease his plight. If you find him "clean" (cured) he is happy with the favourable decision; if "unclean", (make no pronouncement just yet, or) even if you declare him a confirmed leper and he had to be strictly isolated, he will not be much worse off, as he still retains his wife's company’.
(10) As implied in the discussion.
(11) ‘And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes . . . and bathe himself in water and he shall be clean; and after that he may come (back) into the camp, but he shall dwell . . ., Lev. XIV, 8.
(12) Var. lec. (v. D.S., Han.) add here: ‘As one under a ban and as a mourner and’; cf. infra 15b.
(13) Deut. V, 27, which is taken to mean the removal of the injunction, ‘Come not near a woman’ before the theophany. Ex. XIX, 14-15 and Bez. 5b.
(14) I.e., Rabbi, as in the texts of Sifra, ad loc. ed. Weiss, 71b and RID (R. Jacob David of Wishogrod) ed. Warsaw 1866, p. 61 and Yalk. ¤ 561.
(15) Ezek. XLIV, 26. Although that passage speaks of the ceremonial cleansing after contact with the dead — cf. Num. XIX, II, 12ff, 19 — it is taken exegetically, as having also a bearing on the leper's ceremonial cleansing. Cf. p. 35, n. 11e.
(16) According to calculation. V. Rashi on II Kings XV, 1; and Tosaf. s.v. יותם

(17) Cf. II Chron. XXVI, 19ff, and II Kings XV, 5.
(18) That a leper may consort with his wife while a confirmed leper. This proves that Rabbi permits a confirmed leper the use of the conjugal bed.
(19) Lev. XIV, 8 and Ezek. XLIV, 26.
(20) Avoid marital connection.
(21) There is no need or warrant to extend the restriction. V. Tosaf. s.v. מאי

(22) During the festival week, in a case of a second observational detention, as suggested by Raba.
(23) And not on the condition of the patient, or the ruling of Holy Writ which fixes definite periods for inspection and detention.
(24) Lev. XIII, 14-15. The first part is rendered here according to the needs of the exposition.
(25) Cf. Gen. XXIX, 27-28 with Nahmanides’ commentary a.l. also J. Targum a.l.
(26) Lev. XIV, 35-38.
(27) Ibid. XIII, 47,50ff.
(28) Mishnah, Sifra and Han. read ‘all the days . . ., which is more correct than our text, as Shabu'oth is shorter and Tabernacles is longer than seven days.
(29) Affected by symptoms of leprosy.
(30) Lev. XIV, 36.
(31) To save his effects in the house from becoming involved in defilement by the priest's declaration.
(32) Marriage is ordained in Gen. I, 22 and II, 24; the joyous observance of festivals is ordained in Deut. XIV, 26 and XVI, 11, 14-15.
(33) In the case of body leprosy (Rashi).
(34) Lev. XIV, 36.
(35) That inspection is delayed in an optional matter.
(36) Lit., ‘novel’, something exceptional altogether. You cannot take an exceptional instance as a basis for argument or deductions.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 8a

inasmuch as wood and stones elsewhere are not subject to [ceremonial] uncleanness whereas here [in a house affected by leprosy] they are [made] subject to uncleanness. And [on the other hand] Rabbi says [that this text] is also needed.1 For had the All Merciful prescribed [only], ‘And on a day when [raw flesh] shall be seen in him . . .’ I might have said that postponement [of inspection or pronouncement on the findings] is granted only for the [due observance of a] religious obligation, but not for the sake of an optional [matter]; therefore did the All Merciful prescribe also, ‘And the priest shall command’. Again, had the All Merciful prescribed only ‘And the priest shall command that they empty the house . . ., I might have said that [postponement is granted] in the case of these effects [of the house] because the uncleanness is not that of a person, but where the uncleanness is that of a person I might say that the priest should inspect him, [without delay]: therefore it is necessary [to have both texts].

The Master said: ‘There is a day when you do see it in him and there is a day when you do not see it in him. How is this implied? — Said Abaye, If it is just so,2 the Divine Law should have written: ‘On a day [when]’; what then is the [import of] ‘And on a day [when]’? From this you infer that there is ‘a day’ when you see in him . . . and there is ‘a day’ when you do not see . . . in him. Raba said: The whole text3 is redundant altogether for if it be just so,4 Divine Law might have had ‘And when [raw flesh] is seen [in him]’. What then is the import of the [amplification] ‘And on a day’?5 From this infer that there is a day when you do see it in him and there is a day when you do not see it in him.6 And Abaye?7 He needs that [to teach that the inspection is held] by ‘day’, and not at night.8 And whence derives Raba this [point] ‘by day and not at night’? — It is derived by him from, ‘According to all the sight of the eyes of the priest’.9 And Abaye? — He needs that [text] to exclude a person blind in one eye [inspecting a leper]. But does not Raba also require this text for that same point? — Yea, [he does] so also. But then, whence [does he derive the point] ‘by day but not at night’? — He derives it from, ‘Like as a plague was seen by me in the house’,10 [that is, seen] by me, not by [the aid of] my [candle] light. And Abaye?11 — If he did learn from there, I might have said that these [restrictions] obtain [only] where the uncleanness is not personal [of one's body]; but where uncleanness is that of the body, [it may be inspected] also by one's [candle] light. [Therefore] the [original] text12 conveys it to us [best].


GEMARA. AS IT IS A JOY FOR HIM. [The following] was cited in contrast to this: ‘One who gathers his father's or mother's bones holds himself in mourning for them all the day,19 but in the evening he does not hold himself in mourning for them [any longer].’ And R. Hisda commented thereon, even if he had them by him tied up in a sheet.20 Said Abaye, I should suggest [it means], ‘because the joyousness of the feast prevails with him’.21

A PERSON SHOULD NOT STIR UP A WAILING FOR HIS DEAD: What is the meaning of ‘stirring up a wailing for one's dead’? Rab said: In Palestine [it is customary that] whenever a professional lamenter comes round people say, ‘Let all those who are sore at heart weep with him.

THIRTY DAYS BEFORE A FEAST. Why [just] thirty days? R. Kahana said that Rab Judah as reporting Rab told him that once it happened that a man saved money to ‘go up for the feast’22 [to Jerusalem] when a [professional] lamenter came and stopped at his door and the wife took her husband's savings and gave them to him, and so he was prevented from going. Then it was that they [the Rabbis] said, One should not stir up a wailing for his dead, nor hold a [funerary] lament for him thirty days before a Feast; but Samuel gave another reason, namely,

(1) I.e., although Rabbi holds that delay is afforded in the case of body leprosy even for the sake of an optional matter on the analogy of leprosy of houses etc., yet he requires the verse quoted by R. Judah.
(2) To be read just ordinarily.
(3) The word ‘on a day’.
(4) To be read just ordinarily.
(5) Which suggests, ‘yet another day’.
(6) Cf. Yeb. 72b.
(7) Why does he not explain thus the redundant phrase ‘on a day’?
(8) Cf. Shab. 132a.
(9) Lev. XIII. 12, so lit. This implies that it must be held by day when it can be seen well.
(10) Ibid. XIV, 35.
(11) Why does he not derive it from this latter text.
(12) ‘And on a day etc.’ that there is a time when you see etc.
(13) During the festival (week).
(14) It was an ancient custom to give first a temporary burial, and after the flesh had decayed to transfer the bones to a reserved tomb or mausoleum, where they were kept in cedar or marble coffins. Cf. Sem. XII.
(15) To perform a filial duty while he is free to go and ‘bring them home’ to their assigned resting place. There is another possible meaning, see the discussion later.
(16) And should not be undertaken during the festival week.
(17) The meaning apparently is (as explained by Rab later) to join others in lamenting their dead and resuscitate ones own old grief on the occasion. A funeral in the town or village provided a good occasion for such a renewed lament, when professional funerary orators, ‘lamenters’ and female dirge-singers, were available.
(18) I.e., The ceremonial lament for an individual at the time of his death and funeral.
(19) Contrary to R. Meir who allows it during the festival week and furthermore says, ‘it is a joy for him’.
(20) Even if he had not gathered them himself that day, their presence is mournful enough and it is surprising that R. Meir allowed transference and even said ‘it was a joy for him’.
(21) Not that it is an occasion of joy, but that the joy of the festive season prevails in dispensing with formal mourning. Or, that the performance of his filial duty will afford him a sense of satisfaction throughout the remaining festival days (J.M.K.).
(22) On one of the three pilgrim feasts. V. Deut. XVI, 16. Cf. Ex. XXIII, 14ff. ibid. XXXIV, 23. The festival atmosphere is introduced by the study and discussion of its laws thirty days before. Pes. 6b.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 8b

because the dead cannot be put out of mind and heart for [at least] thirty days. What practical difference is there between the two [explanations]? — There is [a difference] between them, where [say], the [professional] lamenter does it without a charge.1


GEMARA. What are KUKIN and what are BURIAL PLACES? — Said Rab Judah, kukin are [recesses made] by excavation and ‘burial-places’ [are structures made by] building. It is [actually] taught thus: ‘These are kukin and these are burial places: Kukin, are [niches made] by excavation and ‘burial places’ are [structures made] by building’.

BUT KUKIN MAY BE ADAPTED. How are they adapted? — Rab Judah said: If [for instance] one is [too] long it may be shortened. A. Tanna taught: ‘He lengthens or shortens [the recess] within6 [the cave]’.

AND THEY [MAY] MAKE A NIBREKETH7 . . . What is NIBREKETH?8 — Rab Judah said: It is [the same as] bekia’.9 But then, is it not taught: ‘The nibreketh and the bekia’ [etc.]?10 — Abaye, or as some say R. Kahana, replied [They have the same relation as] a trough and a troughlet.11

AND A RON WITH THE DEAD [BODY] CLOSE BY IN THE COURT [YARD]. We learn here what our Rabbis taught [elsewhere]: ‘They [may] do all that the dead requires, they cut his hair and wash a garment for him and make him a box of boards that had been sawn on the day before the Festival. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says, they [may] even bring trees and he saws them [into] boards in his house, behind closed doors’.


And if it is a rejoicing for him, what is amiss? — Said Rab Judah, as reporting Samuel, and so said R. Eleazar, as reporting R. Oshaia — and some say, R. Eleazar, as reporting R. Hanina: — It is [barred], because one ‘rejoicing’ may not be merged in another ‘rejoicing’.16 Rabbah son of R. Huna said: It is [barred] because he abandons the ‘rejoicing’ of the festival and busies himself with that of his wife. Said Abaye to R. Joseph: That explanation of Rabbah son of R. Huna is the same as that given by Rab. For R. Daniel b. Kattina reporting Rab, said, Whence [is the ruling] that ONE MAY NOT TAKE A WIFE DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK]? For it is said, And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast,17 [that is,] in ‘thy feast’, but not with thy [new] wife [instead]. ‘Ulla said, [It is] because of the exertion [it occasions]. R. Isaac b. Nappaha said, Because it may cause a decline in marriage and parenthood.18

An objection was raised: ‘All those who have been declared to be forbidden to take wives during the festival [week]

(1) According to the former view (of Rab), even if performed gratis it may not be held, as the bitterness and grief are thereby being roused too near the festive time. Cf. Tosaf. s.v. דקא

(2) כוכין (plural of כוך) are loculi, or recesses, excavated in the sides of a sepulchral cave. V. B.B. 100bff, (Sonc. ed. p. 421ff.)
(3) A sepulchral tomb, mausoleum, built above the ground.
(4) I.e., one of the loculi already excavated may be adapted to receive a particular corpse during the festival week.
(5) נברכת seems to denote a kind of (stone) tank, or trough used by fullers in which they soaked and cleansed soiled woollens. Cf. B.B. 19a. (Sonc. ed. p. 96). From the context however, it is quite obvious as Ritba points out — that here it is not the fuller's trough or tank, but the dead man's sarcophagus, a stone, clay or wooden coffin (box) that is allowed, such as the labella-troughs used as coffins.
(6) Tosef. M.K. I, 9.
(7) V. p. 42, n. 5.
(8) This word (connected with ברכה — the fuller's trench or pool in Isa. VII, 3) is most probably of Assyrian origin as the form with initial N instead of M suggests, cf. מרכבת with narkabtu. V. J.H.
(9) A small hollow creek.
(10) Which shows that they are not identical.
(11) Lit. , ‘son of a trough’.
(12) The marriage of a deceased's brother's widow, if the deceased had died absolutely childless. This was an obligation on the brother to keep his deceased brother's memory alive. Deut. XXV, 5ff.
(13) As a depilatory.
(14) Or with irregular stitches, like a dog's teeth. It means here that a craftsman should not do skilled work, only what is barely needed for the festival week.
(15) Or girths that support the bedding.
(16) I.e., the festival will lose its own significance in the marriage festivities.
(17) Deut. XVI, 14.
(18) Lit., ‘(the precept of) being fruitful and multiplying. If marriages were to be deferred till the festival season when people are free, there would be a likelihood that some might never take place at other times, apart from the congestion that such a practice might cause; and others might come to nothing because of the delay through innumerable other causes. Marriage and parenthood are a primary duty of man and should receive every consideration. Cf. Gen. I, 27-28; II, 18, 24; IX, 1; Isa. XLV, 18.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 9a

are free to marry on the day previous to the festival’, which presents a difficulty to all those authorities. — There is no difficulty: As to one who states [that it is forbidden] because of the ‘rejoicing’, [it may be said that] the main rejoicing [of a marriage celebration] lasts mainly one day.1 As to the one who states [that it is] because of the exertion [it occasions here too] the main exertion falls on one day.1 As to the one who says [that it is] because it may lead to a decline in marriage and parenthood, [it may be said] that for the sake of one day2 a person would not put himself off [indefinitely].3 Whence do we derive the principle that ‘rejoicing should not be merged in rejoicing’? From the text: So Solomon made the feast at that time and all Israel with him, a great congregation from the entrance of Hamath unto the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.4 Now, if it is the fact that one rejoicing may be merged in another rejoicing, he should have kept back the consecration ceremony [of the Temple] for the time of the feast and then have held it for seven days [concurrently], for both one and the other.5 Maybe that the rule is [only] that we should not [deliberately keep a marriage] for the time of a festival,6 but where it so turns out to be [opportune], we might as well hold it then? — [If so], Solomon should have left some small part [unfinished].7 But perhaps this could not be done because we brook no delay in the building of the Temple!8 — Then he could have left [say], an ell of the Ravens’ Scare Palisade.9 [But, it may be asked,] The ell of the Ravens’ Scare Palisade was an essential part of the Temple building!10 Rather [it is derived] from [the fact that] the text is redundant. Consider, it is written ‘fourteen days’, wherefore the need of ‘seven days and seven days’? Infer from this that these [first] seven days and those [second] seven days were distinct from each other.

R. Parnak, reporting R. Johanan, said that that year Israel did not observe the Day of Atonement, whereat they were perturbed, saying, that perhaps the enemies of Israel11 had thereby incurred their doom;12 whereat a Bath Kol13 came forth and an nounced to them: ‘All of you are destined for the life of the world to come.14 What was the basis of their exposition? — They argued a fortiori [thus]: If within the Tabernacle, the sanctity of which was not to be in perpetuity,15 yet an individual's sacrificial gifts16 were allowed [at the consecration] to be offered on the Sabbath day,17 which [ordinarily] is an offence punishable by stoning18 to death; all the more is it the case [that it is permitted] with the Temple, the sanctification of which is to be for ever, and with public19 offerings, and that on the Day of Atonement, whose desecration is an offence punished only by kareth! But then, why were they perturbed? — Because there [in the former case] the offerings were brought as dues to the Supreme Being;20 whereas here, they were brought for their [own] common needs.21 Then here too, should they not have made their offerings without partaking [on that day] of any meat or drink?22 — There is no joyous celebration without eating and drinking.23

Whence do we know that at [the consecration of] the Tabernacle the Sabbath restrictions were suspended? Shall I say because it is written, ‘On the first day [So-and-so offered] . . . on the seventh24 day [So-and-so offered], then [say I], maybe it means the seventh day [in the order] of the offerings?25 Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: The text says, ‘On the day of the eleventh, day’26 just as a day is continuous, so were the eleven days continuous.27 But perhaps, it means [continuous] on days appropriate?’ — Then there is yet another such text, On the day of the twelfth day,28 — just as a day was continuous, so had the whole twelve days been entirely continuous. But that too, maybe means only continuous on days appropriate? — If that be so, why do I require two [peculiarly worded] texts?

Again, whence do we know that during the consecration of the Temple the restrictions of the Day of Atonement were suspended? — Shall I say because it is written, ‘even fourteen days’, maybe it means days appropriate?29 — That is learnt from the analogy between the repeated word ‘day’ here and in the other place.30

‘Whereat a Bath kol came forth and announced to them: "All of you are destined for the life of the world to come".’ And whence know we that pardon was granted them? — For R. Tahlifa taught: [It is written], On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His Servant and to Israel His people.31 ‘To their tents’, that is, they went [home] and found their wives in [a state] of purity32 [to receive their husbands]; joyful’, that is, that they had enjoyed the radiance of the Shechinah;33 ‘and glad of heart’, that is, each man's wife conceived and bore him a male child. ‘For all the goodness’ that is, a Bath kol had come forth and announced to them: ‘All of you are destined for the life of the world to come ; That the Lord had shown unto David His servant and to Israel His people’: It is perfectly clear [as to what is referred to] by ‘all the goodness shown to Israel His people’, as indicating that God had granted them pardon for their sin against [the non-observance of] the Day of Atonement; but what is the point of ‘the goodness shown unto David His servant’? — Said Rab Judah, as reporting Rab; At the moment when Solomon wanted to bring the Ark into the Temple, the gates held fast together. Solomon recited [a prayer of] four and twenty [expressions of] intercession34 but had no response. He began [anew] and said: lift up your heads, O ye gates35 and again he had no response. As soon as [however] he said: [Now therefore arise, O Lord God . . . Thou and the Ark of Thy strength . . .] O Lord, turn not away the face of Thine anointed, remember the good deeds of David Thy servant,36 he was answered forthwith.37 At that moment the faces of David's foes turned [livid] like the [blackened] sides of a pot and all became aware that the Holy One, blessed be He, had pardoned David that misdeed.38

R. Jonathan b.’Asmai39 and R. Judah son of proselyte parents were studying the section of ‘Vows’40 at the school of R. Simeon b. Yohai. They had taken leave from him in the evening, but in the morning they came and again took leave from him. Said he to them: But did you not take leave of me yesternight? Said they to him: Our Master, You taught us, a disciple who had taken leave from his Master and remained overnight in the city must needs take leave from him once again, for it is said: ‘On the eighth day41 he [King Solomon] sent the people away and they blessed the King,42 and [then] it is written: ‘And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away’.43 Hence we learn from here that a disciple who had taken leave from his Master and remained overnight in the city must needs take leave from him once again. Said he to his son, ‘These are men of countenance,44 go along with them, that they may bless you’. He went and found them comparing text with text: It is written: Balance the path of thy feet and let all thy ways be established;45 and it is written: Lest thou shouldst balance the path of life?46 It is not difficult [to explain]: the former text applies where an obligation can be discharged through another person:47

(1) In this case on the eve of the festival.
(2) The eve of the festival.
(3) For fear he might be prevented from marrying on that day.
(4) I Kings VIII, 65, and more particularly, II Chron. VII, 9.
(5) To spare the people loss of time and work, as it could best be celebrated leisurely during the festival week.
(6) Even as we find that Solomon did not keep back the consecration.
(7) To be completed just before the festival so that the consecration be held on the festival. As reported, Solomon's Temple had been completed some time before. V. I Kings, VII, 51 — VIII, 1 and II Chron. V, 1-3,
(8) And thus the Temple of Solomon affords no proof for the principle against merging one joy with another!
(9) A projecting palisade of iron spikes, or according to others a sheet of iron one ell wide, was fixed with sharp edge upward all round the Temple walls. V. Mid. IV, 6 and cf. Josephus, Wars, V, 5, 6.
(10) And likewise brooked no delay.
(11) A euphemistic expression for ‘Israel’.
(12) Lev. XXIII, 29-30, threatens the non-observance of the Day of Atonement. by working and eating with the penalty of kareth.
(13) Lit., ‘the daughter of the voice’. V. Glos. and R. Hirsch Chajes’ study of the subject Immrei Binah, chap. VI.
(14) I.e., they felt reassured of their spiritual existence in the after life.
(15) Temporary, to be replaced by a permanent structure after the settlement in the Land of Promise.
(16) Num. VII, records the gifts which the Princes of the tribes, as individuals, brought day after day, in succession, among them ‘burnt-offerings’ and ‘sin-offerings’ which were not permitted to be eaten by the donors or the people, and the male priests alone were allowed to eat of the sin-offerings as if partaking of ‘the table of the Lord’.
(17) Only the prescribed offerings were permitted on Sabbaths and festivals. Cf. Num. XXVIII.
(18) If the desecration was deliberate. Ex. XXXI, 14; XXXV, 2-3. For the expression מות יומת (as by stoning), v. Lev. XX, 2, 27 and Num. XV, 32-36.
(19) I Kings VIII, 62-64, more than the sacrifices prescribed for the consecration of the Tabernacle (Lev. VIII, IX), which were permitted to the priests alone as sacred meat, whereas here they brought many ‘peace-offerings’ to be partaken of by the whole community. Cf. Lev. VII, 11-16 and I Sam. IX, 19-24.
(20) V. note 3 above.
(21) Making ‘peace-offerings’ for their own enjoyment, mainly, as only a portion was given to the altar and the priests, and the bulk went to the people.
(22) Fasting, v. supra p 45. n. 9.
(23) Cf. I Sam. IX, 19-24 cited above at the end of n. 6.
(24) Num. VII, 12, 18 and 48, the seventh day here being the Sabbath.
(25) I.e., every day, the Sabbath excepted, when no other offerings save those prescribed for the Sabbath day were offered.
(26) Num. VII, 72. The repetition of the word ‘day’ is taken to express the meaning ‘day by day’, daily without interruption. Cf. verse 11 and Solomon's prayer, I Kings VIII, 59; Lev. XXIV, 8.
(27) I.e., gift-offerings were brought consecutively on each of the twelve days.
(28) Num. VII, 78.
(29) For feasting, exclusive of the Day of Atonement.
(30) In connection with the offerings in the Tabernacle and here in the repetition ‘seven days and seven days, even fourteen days’. This method of analogy is the Gezerah Shawah. See Glos.
(31) I Kings, VIII, 66.
(32) On the meaning of tent’ as denoting wife, cf. supra 7b. As regards the state of purity referred to here, v. Lev. XVIII, 19 and XX, 18; XV, 19-24.
(33) The elation of feeling the Divine Presence near.
(34) In I Kings, VIII, 22-53, the expressions for intercession (in their nominal and verbal forms) amount to twenty-four, namely:Five in v. 28; two in 29; two in 30; two in 33; one in 35; two in 38; one in 42; one in 44; two in 45; one in 47; one in 48; two in 49; two in 52, total, twenty-four.
(35) Ps. XXIV, 7ff.
(36) II Chron. VI, 41-42.
(37) The gates yielded an entry.
(38) Against Uriah the Hittite and his wife Bath-sheba, II Sam. XI.
(39) Many texts have b. Akmai. The theme here on taking leave from a master is in continuation of Solomon's farewell to the people.
(40) I.e., they were pursuing the method of Midrashic exposition of Num. XXX, on the law of vows ultimately formulated in the Mishnah.
(41) The eighth day was the twenty-second of Tishri, when they bade the King farewell.
(42) I Kings VIII, 66.
(43) II Chron. VII, 10. Which apparently contradicts the former verse.
(44) Men of importance.
(45) Prov. IV, 26, i.e., carefully pick and choose your actions and duties.
(46) Ibid. V, 5, i.e., do not pick and choose.
(47) Should duty's calls come from several directions some of which may be discharged through some other trusty person, choose the more important and responsible tasks for yourself.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 9b

the latter where the obligation cannot be discharged through another person.1 Again they were sitting and enquiring [into the following]: It is written: She [Wisdom]2 is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her’,3 [which implies] that heaven's demands [of you] are comparable to Her,4 Again it is written: And all things desirable are not to be compared unto Her,5 [which means] that even things that are of Heaven's desire are not comparable to Her?6 The former text applies where the duty can be discharged through others, the latter — where the Duty cannot be discharged through others. Then [turning to him] they said: ‘What is your business here?7 He replied: ‘Father told me, "Go along with them that they may bless you".8 Said they to him: ‘May it be [Heaven's] pleasure that you sow and mow not; that what you bring in go not out; that what goes out you bring not in; that your house be desolate and your inn be inhabited; that your board be disturbed and you behold not a new year’. ‘When he came home to his father, he said to him: ‘So far were they from blessing me that they [even] distressed me sorely7 . His father asked him: ‘What did they say to you?’ — They said thus and thus. Said the father to him: ‘Those are all blessings. That "you sow and mow not [means], that you beget children and they do not die. That "what you bring in go not out" [means], that you bring home daughters-in-law and your sons do not die, so that their wives need not leave again. "What goes out you bring not in" [means], that you give your daughters [in marriage] and their husbands do not die so that your daughters need not come back. "That your house be desolate and your inn be inhabited" [means], that this world is your inn and the other world7 is a home, as it is written, Their grave is their house for ever;8 reading not "their inward thought" [Kirbam] but "their grave (Kibram] is their house for ever, and their dwelling places be for generations."8 "That your board be disturbed" [that is]; by sons and daughters and "that you behold not a new year [means] that your wife do not die and you have not to take you a new wife’.9

R. Simeon b. Halafta took his leave from Rabbi.10 Said Rabbi to his son: ‘Go along with him that he may bless you’ — Said [the parting Rabbi] to him: ‘May it be [Heaven's] pleasure that you be not put to shame nor feel ashamed yourself’.11 When he came to his father, he asked him: ‘What did he say to you?’ — He replied: ‘He made some commonplace remark12 to me — Said [Rabbi] to his son: ‘He blessed you with the blessing with which the Holy One [blessed be He] blessed Israel twice over; for it is written: And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and shall praise the name of the Lord your God . . . And My people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and there is none else; and My people shall never be ashamed.13

AND A WOMAN MAY MAKE HER TOILET DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK]. Our Rabbis taught: These are [permitted in] woman's adornment. She [plaits her hair]14 treats her [eyes] with kohl; fixes a parting,15 [trims her hair and nails14 and] puts rouge on her face; some say she may use a razor for her privy parts. R. Hisda's wife made her toilet in front of her daughter-in-law.16 R. Hina b. Hinena sat before R. Hisda;17 as he sat he said that the instances [mentioned in the Mishnah] applied only to a young woman, but not to an elderly woman. Said R. Hisda to him: God! even to your mother, even to your mother's mother, yea even if she be standing at the [brink of the]18 grave, as the saying goes: ‘At sixty as at six; the sound of a timbrel makes her nimble’.19

R. JUDAH SAYS SHE SHOULD NOT USE LIME. It is taught: R. Judah says, a woman should not use lime, as it is a disfigurement to her. R. Judah concedes, however, that [if it is] a lime [preparation] that can be peeled off during the festival week she may apply it during the festival week, because, although it is irksome to her at the moment, It is a pleasure to her afterwards. But does R. Judah hold this view? Surely we learned [elsewhere]: ‘R. Judah said, Debts may be recovered [from pagan creditors during their festivals] as it is irksome to them’. They said to him, Although it is irksome [for them] at the moment, they feel pleased afterwards?20 — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac, Do not cite the rules for the festival week, as they all derive from the principle ‘that though [the task] is irksome for the moment, it gives satisfaction afterwards’.21 Rabina remarked that [the recovery of debts is allowed because] to a pagan the payment of a debt is always irksome.

Rab Judah [reporting Rab]22 said: The daughters of Israel, who attain puberty before the [normal] age,23 if they are poor, put on a cosmetic preparation made of lime; richer girls put on fine-flower,24 and the wealthy25 girls put on oil of myrrh, as it is said: ‘Six mouths with the oil of myrrh’.26 What is this ‘oil of myrrh’? — Said R. Huna b. Hiyya, [It is what is called] stacte.27 R. Jeremiah b. Ammi28 said, It is oil obtained from olives that have reached but a third of their [normal] growth. It is taught: ‘R. Judah says omphacinon29 is an oil made of [unripe] olives that have reached but a third of their [normal] growth’ — And why do they put it on? Because it is a depilatory and softens the flesh [skin].30 R. Bebai had a dark-skinned31 daughter; he applied to her that unguent one limb at a time and this brought her a husband with four hundred zuzim.32 There was a pagan neighbour of his who had a daughter, and he applied it all over her at once [and] she died; [whereupon] he said, Bebai killed my daughter. Said R. Nahman: ‘R. Bebai drinks beer, therefore his daughters needed unguents; [but as] we do not drink beer, our daughters need no unguents’.33

(1) If there be no trusty person at hand or there be but one call, do not delay action to wait for some more important task; be it great or small, do it promptly, as delay may rob you of your chance of doing it, or you may be too late to do anything at all.
(2) The Torah.
(3) Prov. III, 15.
(4) I.e., your own affairs and wishes are not comparable to the study of Torah; but such pursuits as please Heaven, the calls of duty and religion, are comparable to it.
(5) Ibid. VIII, 11.
(6) I.e., nothing else is comparable to the study of Torah, it is absolutely supreme.
(7) The sepulchre; cf. the term בית עלמי and v. Eccl. XII, 5 and Han.
(8) Ps. XLIX, 12. Cf. Targum.
(9) V. Deut. XXIV, 5.
(10) Should be Rabbi instead of Rab.
(11) Reading with MS.M., SBH and Han. לא תיבוש the more difficult text, but supported by Rabbi's observation. Cur. edd., ‘that you shame not (others) nor feel ashamed’ does not accord with the quotation.
(12) So MS. M., cur. edd., ‘mere words’.
(13) Joel II, 26-27. The same assurance repeated twice.
(14) So Hananel.
(15) So Ps. Rashi and SBH. Perhaps it means making the hair frizzy or curled. Cf. Shab. 64b, Keth. 4b and 17a.
(16) To show what may and what may not be done. (SBH not so Ps. Rashi). V. Strashun's Glos. ad loc.
(17) To expound the Mishnah (SBH).
(18) So D.S. and SBH.
(19) Lit., ‘run’, to see a wedding procession. On the custom cf.B.B. 145b (Sonc. ed. p. 625).
(20) V. A.Z. 6b. The idea is to avoid any dealings with pagans
(21) E.g., baking, cooking etc., troublesome at the moment but enjoyed later.
(22) So Han.
(23) Lit., ‘years’, the statutory age of twelve years and one day.
(24) A cosmetic paste.
(25) Lit., ‘daughters of kings’. Cf. The Latin use of rex, reges for rich.
(26) Esth. II, 12.
(27) Latin stacta, oil of myrrh.
(28) So D.S.; SBH and Meg. 13a read ‘b. Abba’.
(29) Latin omphacium, oil or juice of unripe olives or grapes.
(30) Cf. Targum Sheni on Esth. II, 12.
(31) So MS.M.
(32) As a gift before marriage. Cf. B.B. 146a (Sonc. ed. p. 628).
(33) Beer produces obesity and growth of hair (Rashi).

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 10a

AN ORDINARY PERSON SEWS IN THE USUAL WAY. How do we define ‘an ordinary person’? — At the school of R. Jannai they said, [It means] anyone who cannot draw a needleful

during their festivals, as the means afforded them by the Jew may go to enhance the heathen celebrations. The settlement of a debt leaves the debtor with an easy mind. of stitches in one sweep. R. Jose b. Hainna said, [It means] anyone who cannot sew an even seam on the hem of his tunic.

BUT A CRAFTSMAN MAY SEW A TUCK-STITCH. What is meant by sewing a ‘tuck-stitch’? — R. Johanan said, [It means] ‘overstepping’.1 Rabbah b. Samuel said, [It means that the stiches resemble] dogs’ teeth.2

AND THE CORDS MAY BE INTERLACED IN BED-FRAMES. [R. JOSE SAYS THEY MAY ONLY BE TIGHTENED]. What is meant by ‘interlacing’ and what by ‘tightening’? When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said that R. Hiyya b. Abba and R. Assi had different views on this, both reporting in the name of Hezekiah and R. Johanan. One said that ‘interlacing’ meant [interlacing] both the warp and the woof, and that ‘tightening’ meant putting in the warp without the woof;3 while the other said that ‘interlacing’ meant putting in the warp without the woof, and tightening’ meant that he may tighten a girth cord if it has become slack.

But this cannot be [correct], for R. Tahlifa4 b. Saul taught: ‘And all agreed that no cords may be let in afresh’. Now this is perfectly in accord with the one who says that the ‘interlacing’ [permitted in the Mishnah] means interlacing both the warp and the woof, and that the ‘tightening’ [that R. Jose permitted] means putting in the warp without the woof; hence R. Tahlifa could say: ‘And all agreed that no cords may be let in afresh’ — But, according to one who says that ‘interlacing’ means putting in the warp without the woof and that ‘tightening’ means that he may tighten a cord if it has become slack, [how do you explain R. Tahlifa b. Saul's statement? For,] if you say that interlacing the warp and the woof is forbidden, need one [at all state] that cords are not to be let in afresh? — This is a difficulty. Said R. Nahman b. Isaac to R. Hiyya b. Abin: Is there anybody who applies the term ‘Interlacing’ to inserting a warp without the woof? For surely we learned:5 R. Meir says: A bed [frame] is not [subject to ritual defilement] until three warp spaces in it have been crossed? The fact is that when Rabin came [from Palestine] he said that all agree that ‘interlacing’ means interlacing the warp and woof; but where the difference arose was on the interpretation of ‘tightening’; one Master held that the ‘tightening’ [that was permitted] was inserting the warp without the woof, and the other Master held [that what was allowed was] the tightening of a cord which has become slack. An objection was raised: Bed-frames may be interlaced [during the festival week] and needless to say that they may be tightened: these are the words of R. Meir. R. Jose says: They may be tightened, but not interlaced and ‘Some say’6 that tightening may not be done at all — Now here [the several views are] perfectly [understandable] according to the one who says that by ‘tightening’ is meant ‘inserting the warp without the woof’, as then, ‘Some’ come and express their dissent [on that kind of mending]. But according to the one who says that by the ‘tightening’ [which is allowed] is meant that when a cord has become slack one may make it taut, then according to the view of ‘Some’ not even this [simple adjustment] is allowed! — Yes, indeed; because, since it is possible [temporarily] to fill [the sag] with bedclothes, we should not go to [further] exertion [during the festival week].


GEMARA. What is meant by ‘compressing’? — Rab Judah said that [it means] chiselling8 the millstones; R. Jehiel said, It means [fixing] an eye-hole.9 An objection was raised: An oven or stove [or mill] may be set up in the festival [week], provided that the work is not entirely completed; these are the words of R. Eliezer; but the Sages say, It may even be finished off. R. Judah, speaking in his10 name says: A new one may be set up and an old [mill] compressed, and ‘Some’11 say compressing may not be done at all. Now this accords well with the one who says that ‘compressing’ means scoring the mill [stones], hence this process is applicable in the case of an old mill; but according to the one who says that it means [fixing] an eye-hole, what fixing of an eye-hole does an old mill need?12 — l may say, for instance, that it needs widening a little more. R. Huna [once] hearing someone scraping his millstones during the festival week said: ‘ Who is that? May he himself suffer desecration that desecrates the festival week!’ He [evidently] held the view of ‘Some say’ [cited above]. R. Hama expounded:13 ‘One [may] scrape millstones during the festival [week]’. In the name of our Master14 they said: One [may] trim the hoofs of the horse he rides or the ass he rides during the festival week;

(1) Like a baste stitch, hot contiguous but in and out on either side of the material, alternatively.
(2) Irregular in form, or unevenly. Cf. n. 9. on the Mishnah, supra 8b, p. 43.
(3) I.e., putting in a cord or webbing in one direction only.
(4) MS.M.: Halafta.
(5) Kei. XVI, 1: ‘Straight wooden frames, such as are used for litter or cradle, are not subject to ritual contamination until they are rubbed smooth with a fish-skin; R. Meir says, not (even then) until (the cords have been let in) and three spaces have been crossed by the woof cord’.
(6) Representing the view of R. Nathan the Babylonian. V. Hor., Sonc. ed. p. 104.
(7) Probably of clay.
(8) Scoring the grooves or scraping and removing the sediment of flour dust to make the two stones fit closely together.
(9) Of the upper stone, the runner, through which the grain is poured in.
(10) R. Eliezer's: he often cites R. Eliezer's views, which were stricter, as being of the Shammaite school.
(11) R. Nathan the Babylonian. V. p. 54, n. 2.
(12) Surely an old mill has an eye-hole already.
(13) On a Sabbath within a month before the festival.
(14) So Han. MS. M. and many texts, i.e., Rab, which is the correct reading (not R. Meir of cur. edd.).

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 10b

but not those of the ass turning the mill.1 Rab Judah2 declared it permissible to trim the hoofs of the ass turning the mill or to set up the mill or build a mill, or to construct a base for the mill or build a horse stable. Rab3 declared it permissible to curry horses and to construct a bed4 or make a mattress-box.5 Raba allowed bleeding of cattle during the festival week. Said Abaye to him: There is a Tanna who supports you: Cattle [may] be bled and no curative means are [to be] withheld from an animal during the festival week’. Raba allowed fulled clothes6 to be rubbed.7 On what ground? It is an ordinary unskilled process. Said R. Isaac b. Ammi, as citing R. Hisda: To pleat sleeve-ends8 is forbidden; on what ground? Because that is a craftsman's process.

Raba said: [With regard to] a man who levels up his ground, if it is to even [the slope of] the threshing floor9 it is allowed; if merely to level the soil, it is forbidden. How can one tell? If he takes up heaped [soft] soil to heap on [soft] soil, or stiff soil to lay on stiff soil, it shows that [it is done] for [improving] the threshing floor; but if he takes up heaped [soft] soil and casts it on the stiff soil, this shows that it is for [improving] the ground.10

Raba said: With regard to one who clears his field [of chips of wood], if it is for gathering [fire] wood, it is allowed; if for clearing the ground, it is forbidden. How can we tell? If he picks up the larger pieces and leaves the smaller, this shows that it is to gather [fire] wood; but if he picks up both large and small, this shows that it is to clear the field. Raba said also: With regard to one who opens [sluices] to let water run off into his field, if it be to get the fish,11 it is permitted; if it is to water the soil, it is forbidden. How can we tell? If he opens two flood-gates one above12 and another below,13 this shows that it is for getting the fish; but if only one gate, it is [obviously] for watering the soil. Raba further said: With regard to one who trims his palm,14 if it is for the [benefit of his] beasts it is allowed; but if for the [benefit of the] palm it is forbidden. How can we tell? If he trims one side only, this shows that it is for the beasts; if both one side and the other, it is for the [benefit of the] palm, and it is forbidden. And furthermore said Raba: Those [unripe] tauhla15 dates one may pick, but to press them is not permitted. R. Papa remarked that as [if these are left] the worms get at them, they are on the same footing as a business deal16 [the postponement of which] would entail loss,17 and therefore may be [pressed during the festival week]. Raba also said: Any business transaction whatsoever is forbidden. R. Jose b. Abin said: And if there be a risk of loss, it is permitted. Rabina had some deal on hand which would have fetched six thousand zuzim;18 he deferred the sale till after the festival and sold at twelve thousand. Rabina had advanced some money to the people living at Akra di-Shanutha.19 He came to consult R. Ashi and said: ‘What about going over to them just now [during the festival week]?’ — Said R. Ashi to him: ‘As they had ready cash just then which they might not have later, it is [practically] like a deal [the postponement of which] would entail loss, and [accordingly] is allowed’. It is also similarly taught with reference to heathens: One may go

(1) As not being so urgent.
(2) Of Pumbeditha, Rab's disciple.
(3) Readings vary.
(4) Latin, grabatus, a Macedonian article of furniture, a very low bedframe or couch. V. the references in Tosaf. s.v. Ps. Rashi takes it as meaning a crib.
(5) Stibadium or stibas (Greek) a pallet or mattress, a semicircular low seat for lounging. Cf. Pliny's Letters, V, 6.
(6) קירמי are fulled or carded sheets of cloth (from the Latin carminare) worn as a mantle or used as coverlets and tapestries. Cf. Suk. 10a, also Kel. XXIII, 4.
(7) Han. explains (in Arabic) as ‘damping to be rubbed and twisted to make them soft (or pliable)’. V. B.M. Lewin, Otz. Hag. IV, Mashkin, II, no. 173.
(8) Reading קיטורי בי ידי. Lewin, op cit. Yom-tob p. 5, no. 164. Cf. Lat. manicatae tunicae. According to another reading קיטורי בירי; to ‘pleat’ or ‘bleach’ (with sulphur fumes or with scented perfume ingredients) mantles, birri (Jast. s.v. ביריא. According to Gaonic explanation (Lewin, Otz. Hag. IV, Yom-tob, p. 55, no. 164) as al-akmis (Arabic), Camisoles, shirt-tunics. Cf. Persian pirahan.
(9) Which was raised in the centre sloping outwards.
(10) Which means that he is simply working the field during the festival week.
(11) When the water is run off.
(12) The water that carries the fish into the next section.
(13) To run off the upper water leaving the fish lower down in the shallows.
(14) Removing the foliage and young shoots.
(15) Syriac, Arabic, from Assyrian tuhallu (Brockelmann 70b) palmulla praematura. Cf. Hag. 15b.
(16) Lit., ‘business transaction’.
(17) Risk of a loss may be prevented during the festival week. V. supra, 2a, p. 3.
(18) Same as (silver) denarii.
(19) The foot of Shanwatha. V. Obermeyer L.B. 268. From B.M. 73b, (Sonc. ed. p. 425), we learn it was a deal in wine.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 11a

to a heathen fair and buy cattle, male and female slaves, houses, fields and vineyards, and draw up contracts and have them registered at their Registry Offices,1 because it is [practically] like rescuing something of which they [the heathens] had got possession. Rab permitted R. Hiyya b. Ashi to mend basket-traps2 during the festival week. What is the reason? — It is ordinary [unskilled] work; but [to mend] mesh-nets is forbidden. What is the reason? It is work of craftsmanship. Rab Judah allowed Ammi the ovenmaker to put up ovens and Rabbah b. Ashbi he allowed to plait sieves. But this cannot be [correct], as Rabbah b. Samuel learned: And all [authorities] are agreed that an oven may not be set up for the first time [during the festival week]! — There is no difficulty [here]: The former ruling obtains during the ‘warm season’3 while the latter ruling obtains in the ‘rainy season’.4


GEMARA. What, for instance, is meant by putting up a parapet or railing ‘roughly’? — R. Joseph explained: [Something like a fence of] palm-leaves and daphne-stakes.11 A Tanna taught: One may pile up rubble without daubing with clay. PLASTER MAY BE SMEARED ON THE CREVICES AND FLATTENED DOWN WITH A ROLLER, WITH HAND OR FOOT, BUT NOT WITH RAMMING TOOLS. Now, if you say it is allowed to flatten down with a roller, need one [be told] ‘with hand or foot’? — What it means is: One may smear [plaster on] the crevices and flatten down as with a roller, by hand or foot, but not with ramming-tools.

PIVOTS AND SOCKETS, LINTELS, LATCHES, BOLT-LOCKS AND DOOR-HANDLES THAT HAVE GIVEN WAY MAY BE REPAIRED DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK]. Some contrasted this with [the following]: ‘Up to his days,12 the hammer was beating in Jerusalem during the festival [week] . . .’, [that is], ‘up to his days’, but not thereafter!13 — [Said R. Huna]14 that is not difficult [to explain]; the reference there is to the smith's [hammer],15 while here [the tool allowed] is the joiner's [mallet].16 R. Hisda demurred to this [explanation] as according to this some will say that a loud din is forbidden, [but] a faint sound is allowed. No, said R. Hisda, it is not difficult [to explain]: One [the tool allowed here] is the bill-hook17 and the other [which is not allowed] is an adze.18 R. Papa said that in one statement we have the [older view held] before the restriction [had been introduced] and in the other the [later] view held after the restriction [was introduced]. R. Ashi said that one [Mishnah] expresses R. Judah's view19 and the other R. Jose's; for R. Isaac b. Abdimi said: ‘Who may be the [anonymous] Tanna that [holds] that work must be done in a different way from the ordinary20 [in working] during the festival [week] even where its [postponement would entail] loss? Not R. Jose’.21 Rabina said, Whose ruling do we follow nowadays when we raise the pivot-cups22 of the doors during the festival week? — R. Jose's. AND ALL PRESERVES THAT MAY BE EATABLE IN THE FESTIVAL [WEEK] ONE MAY PUT IN PICKLE. On Baditha Luba,23 everybody engaged in fishing and they brought in fish,24 and Raba allowed to put them in salt. Said Abaye to him: But [why]? We learned: PRESERVES THAT MAY BE EATABLE IN THE FESTIVAL [WEEK] ONE MAY PUT IN PICKLE? — Said he [Raba] to him, Since they brought them home with the intention of eating them and if they leave them [uneaten] they will be spoilt, it is similar to [a case of] business that might be lost and is therefore permitted.25 And some say that Raba [actually] allowed them to him, But surely we learned: PRESERVES THAT MAY BE EATABLE go fishing,26 fetch the fish home and put them in salt. Said Abaye to IN THE FESTIVAL [WEEK] ONE MAY PUT IN PICKLE! — Said he [Raba] to him, These may be eaten [also] by means of ‘pressing’, as was the case with Samuel when they applied pressure [to the fish in salt] sixty times27 and he ate [thereof]. When Raba [himself] once happened to be at the house of the Exilarch,28 they prepared for him [a dish of fish] pressed sixty times and he ate it. Rab was [on a festival week] once at Bar-Shappir29 [Perissabora?] where they put before him some kind of fish [which was] a third boiled, a third salted and a third broiled. Rab said, Adda the fisherman told me that a fish is at its best when it is about to turn putrid. Rab also said this, Adda the fisherman told me: Broil the fish with his brother [salt], plunge it into its father [water], eat it with its son [sauce] and drink after it its father [water]. This too Rab said: Adda the fisherman told me: [After eating] fish, cress and milk occupy your body, don't occupy your couch.30 And furthermore said Rab, Adda the fisherman told the: [After] fish, cress and milk drink [rather] water, not mead;31 mead and not wine. [

(1) Archives.
(2) For fish or fowl.
(3) Passover time, when the clay very soon dries and the oven may be used forthwith.
(4) At the time of Tabernacles, when the rain delays its use, hence the work is untimely during the festival week.
(5) Lit., ‘the work of an ordinary man but not that of a craftsman’.
(6) On the roof, which was flat and sloping slightly towards the edges to allow the rain to run off’. Cf. Bez. 9a.
(7) A leveller, so called because of its round shape. It was made of a piece of round log with a long handle fixed at right angles, by which it was drawn to and fro, like our broom. Sometimes it was a flat stone with the edges rounded on moved in a circular motion by a long handle. V. Rashi, Mak. 7a, (Sonc. ed. p. 38).
(8) Pressing tools; Roman pavicula.
(9) The doors of the ancients did not hang on hinges, but turned on wedgeshaped pins which fitted into a hollow, or metal ring fixed into the threshold and lintel. V. Krauss, T.A. I, 36ff
(10) All made of wood. Cf. ‘Er. 101a.
(11) Like a hurdle or hedge fixed temporarily. Daphne is a dwarf shrub often used for hedges.
(12) Referring to the High Priest, John Hyrcanus I, one of the Maccabean princes. Cf. Sot. 17a.
(13) Whereas here the Mishnah permits its use!
(14) So MS.M.
(15) Publicly plied in the forge.
(16) Privately, in the house.
(17) A gardener's tool for a piece of joinery.
(18) The regular artisan's tool.
(19) I.e., the stricter view, as he forbids exertion and only allows it where loss is threatened. Cf. supra 2a, p. 3.
(20) E.g., by using an improvised tool, or be satisfied with a temporary adjustment.
(21) V. infra 11a and 12a.
(22) Or the cavity which receives the bolt. Cf. Ar. Compl. s.v. VI, 161b. There are different readings.
(23) בדיתא לבאי i.e., the canal Baditha near Luba on the northern Euphrates, v. Obermeyer, p. 311.]
(24) The time of flood in Mesopotamia is between March and May and there was therefore at Passover-time a plentiful supply of fish in the streams.
(25) Cf. supra 10b for Raba's view in regard to merchandise, as modified by R. Jose b. Abin.
(26) Ab initio, or to purchase fish, i.e., to take advantage of the opportunity.
(27) Sixty is a Babylonian unit, e.g., sixty minutes an hour, a minute sixty seconds etc. and is used often as conventionally as here for ‘ever so many times’.
(28) Resh Galutha. The official head of the Jewish community in Babylon, an office held in succession by descendants of the royal house of David, and recognized by the Government. It was, in this distance, either Mar Huna III or Abba son of Mar ‘Ukban III, to both of whom Raba was official adviser on religious matters. V. W. Bacher's article, Jew. Encycl. V, 289, s.v. Exilarch.
(29) MS.M. Piruz-Shabur = Perisaboras was however rebuilt and so named later by Sapor II. Cf. Obermeyer p. 226.
(30) I.e., move about and do not lie down to sleep.
(31) A fermented beverage made of dates used in Babylon.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 11b



GEMARA. The Mishnah begins with mourning and finally [only] deals with the festival [week]!5 — Said R. Shisha6 son of Idi: This implies that things one is permitted [to do] during the festival [week] are forbidden him during [the week of] his mourning.7 R. Ashi says, [Not so], this wording is cast in the form of, ‘No need to say’ . . .,8 no need to say [that he may put on the beam for the first time] during [the week of] his mourning when [the restriction on work] is but rabbinical, but even during the festival [week], when [work] is restricted on Scriptural grounds, the Rabbis still permit it where loss is involved.

It was taught9 in the sense of R. Shisha son of Idi: These are the things they may do for the mourner during his [week of] mourning: If his olives had been turned they may put on for him [the beam for the first time], or if his wine [cask] is to be bunged, or his flax is to be lifted from the retting, or his wool is to be lifted from the dye-bath; and they may besprinkle his field10 for him when his turn for water-rights arrives. R. Judah says they may even sow for him the ploughed field or the field awaiting a flax-crop. Said they [the Rabbis] to him: [Not so], if the field is not sowed in the early season it could be sowed in the latter season and if It cannot be sowed with flax let it be sowed with some other kind [of crop].11 Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says, If his olives had been turned and there is no skilled worker save himself, or his cask is [ready] for bunging and there is no skilled worker save himself, or his flax is [ready] for lifting from the retting or his wool for lifting from the dye-bath and there is no skilled worker save himself, such a one may perform [his task] behind closed doors. Furthermore, said Rabban Gamaliel, if he is a skilled worker engaged in the service of the public, or a hairdresser or a bath-attendant in the service of the public, and the Festival is close at hand and there is no skilled worker save him, such a one may do the work. Farmkeepers,12 tenant-farmers13 and contractors of labour may have others doing work for them.14 Ass-drivers, camel-drivers and bargemen may not work;15 but if they were [already] engaged on the job or were [just then] in the hire of others, they [themselves] may do their work.14 A daily worker16 may not work, even in another town.17 One who has others’ work in hand,18 even if it is a contract job,19 he may not do it. [You say,]’ Even if it is a contract job’, [which implies] and all the less so if it is not a contract job. On the contrary, a contract job is like his own [work]!20 Rather, whether it is a contract job or not a contract job he may not do it. If his work21 was placed in the hand of others, they may not do it in his own house, but in another house they may do it.

Marion the son of Rabin and Mar the son of R. Aha the son of Raba had a yoke of oxen22 between them, when a misfortune23 befell Mar the son of R. Aha the son of Raba; he broke up the team [and did not send his animal to work]. Said R. Ashi, A great man like Mar the son of R. Aha acting in such a manner! Granted that he minds not his own loss [of earning], is he not concerned about the loss [caused] to others? Surely it is taught: ‘But if they were [already] engaged [on the job] or were [just then] in the hire of others, these may do their work’?24 — He [Mar] however held the view that [the case of] a prominent man is different.25

(1) For maturing before pressing (or milling).
(2) For the death of a parent, wife, child, brother or sister.
(3) Of a second or third pressing, etc.
(4) Omitted in most texts as rather more applicable to the next case, that of wine.
(5) Without stating how to proceed in the case of mourning.
(6) Var. lec. Shesheth.
(7) Namely, that the permission to do those things now was granted only in connection with the festival week, but not during the week of mourning.
(8) ‘No need to say only this . . . but even that’ may or may not be done.
(9) Cf. Sem. II, 2-5, and J.M.K. II, 1 (81a).
(10) Sem. has ‘besprinkle for him a white field’ and J.M.K. has ‘irrigate for him a languid field’.
(11) Abstention would thus involve no loss.
(12) Gardeners or metayers who receive from the owner of the field or orchard a certain proportion of the produce for their labour.
(13) Who pay a fixed annual rent in money or in kind.
(14) While in mourning, as their abstention means a loss to the workers besides the mourners themselves.
(15) Either drive the animal or let it out on hire just then.
(16) I.e., on a day to day employment.
(17) Where he is not known. [Since according to the law he may withdraw during any part of the day, v. B.K. 116a.]
(18) I.e., he does the work at home.
(19) I.e., he is paid by piece and not by day.
(20) And therefore should be forbidden.
(21) Here the quotation is resumed.
(22) Gemella. A pair of oxen owned in partnership which they let on hire to farmers.
(23) A bereavement.
(24) In the Baraitha cited above, with a slight variation in the order to suit the case.
(25) I.e., he was not unaware of the ruling in the Baraitha, but felt that a man of his status (and maybe, his partner too) should be stricter in the application of the law. Cf. Bez. II, 6; 22b; Shab. 51a.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 12a

Samuel said: ‘[If non-Jews] take work on contract they may not [work for a Jew]1 within the [limits of the Sabbath] boundary;2 but outside the boundary they may’. Said R. Papa, Even outside the boundary we do not say [they may] save where there is no town in the Vicinity; but where there is a town near by, it is forbidden. Said R. Mesharshaya: And even if there be not a town close by we [still] do not say [they may carry on the work] save on Sabbaths and festivals when there are not frequent [Jewish] passers-by, but during the festival week when people are often passing to and from the place it is forbidden. Mar Zutra son of R. Nahman had a mansion erected for himself by [non Jewish] contractor [builders] outside the boundary.3 R. Safra and R. Huna b. Hinena happened to come thither and did not enter his house; and some report that he [R. Nahman] himself did not enter the building. But did not Samuel say that con tractors may not carry on their work within the boundary, but outside the boundary they may? — [The case of] a prominent man is different. Some say [his servant]4 had assisted then with straw. R. Hama allowed the Exilarch's table-stewards to do their work5 during the festival week; he said that as they received no remuneration they only intend to benefit him6 which concerns us nought.

Our Rabbis taught: Contracts may be made during the festival [week for work] to be executed after the festival [week]; but [to do it] during the festival [week] is forbidden. The general principle on this point is that whatever one may do himself he may tell a non-Jew to do; and what he himself may not do, he may not tell a non-Jew to do. Another [Baraitha] taught: Contracts may be made during the festival [week] to be executed after the festival [week], only that one should not measure, weigh or count [quantities] after the manner in which this is done on an ordinary day. Our Rabbis taught: One may not bring a sire to mate during the festival week. Similarly, a ‘first-born, sire should not7 be [used to] mate,8 nor a votive beast that has become disqualified.9 Another [Baraitha] taught: They may not bring a sire to mate during the festival week. R. Judah says, Where an ass is hankering [for the male] they may bring her the jackass to mate lest she become chilled. All other beasts are [merely] brought into the stalls.10

Our Rabbis taught: Sheep may not be turned out to graze in a hurdled enclosure11 on Sabbaths, festivals, or in the festival week, but if they come [and do it] of their own accord,12 it is allowed; and they may not be assisted [to it]. Nor may a watchman be assigned [to the shepherds] to move the sheep about.13 If [the herdsman was] engaged by the week, month, year or septennate, assistance may be given to these14 and a watch may be assigned to them to move the sheep about. Rabbi15 says, [This may be done] on the Sabbath by way of favour, on the festival for meals and during thee festival [week] for payment. R. Joseph stated that the law is according to Rabbi.


GEMARA. [LIKEWISE IF ONE HAD etc.] And this [wine clause] is necessary. Because, if [the Tanna] had told us the first [clause alone], we might have argued that only in that case did R. Jose say [he may complete the process] as the loss on oil is considerable, whereas in the case of wine, where the loss is not much, one might presume that he concurred with the [stricter] view of R. Judah. And if [the Tanna] had told us the latter [clause alone], we might have argued that only in this case [of wine] did R. Judah say [he may not do more], whereas in that [former case of oil], one might presume that he concurred with thee more [lenient] view of R. Jose: [therefore] it was necessary [to enunciate both clauses]. Said R. Isaac b. Abba,16 Who is the Tanna who requires that work [if done] should be done with a difference during the festival [week] where loss is threatened? It is not R. Jose.17 R. Joseph said, The halachah is according to R. Jose.

Some [scholars] asked of R. Nahman b. Isaac: Is it permitted to coat a mead-cask [with resin]18 in the festival week? — Said he to them: Sinai19 stated that the halachah is according to R. Jose. Supposing that R. Jose said [one may] in the case of wine, [does it follow] that he said [that one may] also in the case of mead? — [Indeed,] for what is the reason [that he allows] in the case of wine? [It is] because the loss on it is considerable; it is also considerable In the case of mead, as Abaye said, Mater20 told me: ‘Better a coated cask of Six se'ahs than an uncoated cask of eight se'ahs’.21

R. Hama b. Guria citing Rab said: The halachoth22 appertaining to the festival [week] are like the halachoth regulating the dealings with Kuthites.23 What is the legal import [of this dictum]? — Said R. Daniel son of R. Ketina, It is to say that they are ‘sterile’24 [regulations] and communicate nought25 to each other, as [for instance] Samuel said that they [may] coat a jug with pitch but may not coat a cask; while R. Dimi of Nehardea said that they [may] coat a cask with pitch but they may not coat a jug; one master being solicitous to avert loss,26 the other master being solicitous to avoid exertion27 [during the festival week]. Said Abaye, We have it as tradition28 that the halachoth appertaining to the festival [week] are like the halachoth appertaining to the Sabbath:

(1) People might say that they were given the work on the Sabbath.
(2) On a Sabbath or Festival (Rash). V. however, Asheri.
(3) On a Sabbath or a Festival.
(4) Han. and other texts.
(5) He allowed these non-Jewish servants to mend or improvise extra tables for the guests of the Exilarch. R. Hama is mentioned with Mar zutra in B.B. 7a.
(6) By working for the Exilarch during the festival week.
(7) At any time. Cf Tosef. M.K. II.
(8) ‘Firstborn’ males of ‘clean’ animals are from birth dedicated to the altar and as such claimed by the priest (v. Num. XVIII, 15, 17). These may not be worked, nor shorn for fleece, nor milked (v. Deut. XV, 19-20). Cf. Mak. 22a, (Sonc. ed. p. 155) and Bek. 15a.
(9) Having become blemished, it is unfit for the altar and may be redeemed for ordinary slaughter but not for any other use. V. Bek. 15b.
(10) To mate without assistance.
(11) To manure the field.
(12) I.e., if the non.jewish herdsmen drive the cattle into the field without any Instruction or request from the owner of the field.
(13) I.e., to use means whereby to expedite the discharge of excrements of the flock on the spot to be manured. V. Jast. s.v. נער, II.
(14) As these non-jewish herdsmen carry out their own work according to undertaking.
(15) J. Sheb. III, 3 reads here Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, besides other variations. Also cf. Tosef. Sheb. end of Chapter li and Tosef. Shab. XVIII, 16.
(16) It is Isaac b. Abdimi on 11b.
(17) Since R. Jose holds that he can complete the process in the usual way.
(18) Or pitch, to make it air-tight. V. A.Z. 33a (Sonc. ed. p. 162). Han. takes it as sealing the stopper, by smearing it over with clay or pitch to prevent the wine or mead becoming vapid. The mead made from the syrup of dates was a Babylonian beverage, cf. Pes. 107a and 113b.
(19) A complimentary appellation of R. Joseph as an eminent authority on the body of Baraitha-comments (on the Mishnah), in contrast to Rabbah b. Nahmani, his great contemporary and predecessor as Principal of the Academy at Pumbeditha, who was called ‘Uprooter of Mountains’, a title descriptive of his method of acute analysis. V. Ber. 64a and Hor. 14a, (Sonc. ed. p. 105).
(20) Abaye was a posthumous child and his mother died in childbirth. He was brought up by a foster mother whose instructive sayings he frequently quotes as here. V. Kid. 31b.
(21) A se'ah is about two and a third gallons.
(22) Traditional rules of practice.
(23) The Samaritans who, when friendly, were treated as observant Jews, and when hostile and making common cause with the heathens in persecuting Jews and jeering at their religious practices, were treated as heathens. The attitude towards them, therefore, varied from time to time, according to circumstances.
(24) Some texts have עקודות ‘tethered’, i.e., inapplicable as ‘rules in practice’ owing to their frequent variability.
(25) Serving no purpose as definite instances from which to argue any definite principle.
(26) There is more loss involved in neglecting a cask than a jug, which is much smaller.
(27) The exertion entailed in coating a cask is greater than with a jug.
(28) Abaye often uses that expression.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 12b

some acts involve no penalty, though forbidden,1 while other acts are allowed ab initio.

R. Huna had his harvest reaped during the festival [week], whereupon Rabbah put an objection to R. Huna [from the following]: They may mill flour during the festival [week] for the requirements of the festival; what is not required for the festival is forbidden. A thing that is perishable in the festival [week] is permitted to be done; a thing that is not perishable in the festival [week] is forbidden. When does this [rule] obtain?2 In the case of something that is [already] severed from the soil, but where [the crop is still] attached to the soil, even if all of it perish it is forbidden; but if he have not food to eat, he may reap, gather into sheaves, thresh, winnow, clean and mill,3 only that he shall not thresh with cows?4 — He replied: That [Baraitha] is but an individual5 opinion, and is not generally accepted by us, as it has been taught: Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel stated a general rule in the name of R. Jose, Whatever is [already] severed from the soil, even though only part of it might perish, yet may it be worked; while that which is [still] attached to the soil, even though it might all perish, is forbidden. But if [as you say] that [anonymous] Baraitha be R. Jose's opinion, then he should also be allowed to thresh with cows!6 For Surely R. Isaac b. Abba said: ‘Who is the Tanna that demands some variation In the working during the festival [week] where loss is involved? It is not R. Jose!7 — [Said R. Huna],8 He [R. Jose] might reply:9 ‘Yea indeed, so; yet as one does not usually10 thresh with cows, threshing without them [during the festival week] would be no variation now.11

Our Rabbis taught: Flour may be ground during the festival [week] for the needs of the festival; but if not for the requirements of the festival [week], it is forbidden. If, however, one ground12 and had some flour over, he is allowed to use it.13 Trees may be cut down during the festival [week] for the needs of the festival, but if it is not for the needs of the festival it is forbidden; if one, however, had cut down12 and had some over, it is permitted.13 [The ingredients] for brewing mead14 may be put in during the festival [week] for the needs of the festival; but if it is not needed for the festival it is forbidden; and if one put in [the ingredients]12 and had some [brew] left over, it is permitted,13 provided only that there is no guile.15 A contradiction was raised [from the following]: ‘They may put in [ingredients for brewing] mead during the festival [week] for the needs of the festival, but what is not for the needs of the festival is forbidden, be it a brew of dates or a brew of barley, and even though one have some old [brew] he may act with guile and drink of the new’?16 — There is a difference among Tannaim as was taught: There should be no resort to guile in such matters; R. Jose son of R. Judah says, One may act with guile [sometimes].17

Rab [once] had his harvest gathered for him in the festival week. Samuel heard [of it] and was annoyed. Might one suggest that Samuel concurred with the view of the individual authority?18 — No, it was a crop of wheat which [if left a while] would not have deteriorated. What is the reason that Rab acted thus? — He had not then [enough] to eat; and as for Samuel, he had not been fully informed [of the circumstances]. Or, [maybe he thought that the case of] a prominent person is different.

R. Judah the Prince19 [once] went out [on the Sabbath] wearing an amethyst20 signet and [once] drank water which an Aramean [non-Jewish] cook21 had heated. R. Ammi hearing of it was annoyed. Said R. Joseph: What is the reason he was annoyed? Was it on account of the amethyst signet? Why, it is taught: Chains, earrings and rings are like all articles of dress that may be worn in the courtyard!22 [Again], if because he drank water which an Aramean had made hot? Why, Samuel b. Isaac, citing Rab, stated that whatever can be eaten raw is not [debarred] as in the category of heathen-cooked food! — [The case of] a prominent person is different.23

R. Hananel, citing Rab, said that one may lop off branches from a palm tree during the festival [week] even though he needs only the chips.24 Abaye denounced25 this [dictum] vehemently. R. Ashi had a wood in Shelania. He went to cut it down during the festival week. Said R. Shela of Shelania to R. Ashi, What is your ground [for acting thus]? Is it because of what R. Hananel, citing Rab, said, that one may lop branches from a palm during the festival [week] even though he needs only thee chips?24 But surely Abaye denounced it vehemently! — Said he [R. Ashi] to him: ‘I heard it not’, as much as to Say, ‘I do not concur [with Abaye's view]’. The hatchet then slipped threatening to cut off his leg. He then abandoned his task and came again.26

Rab Judah permitted pulling up flax, picking hops and pulling up sesame crops. Said Abaye to R. Joseph: It is quite correct to do this in the case of flax, as if may be used for covering [fruits]; in the case of hops, as they may be used for [brewing] beer; but sesame — to what [immediate] use can it be put? — [It may be picked] on account of the seeds27 it contains. R. Jannai had an orchard28 that had become ripe for picking during the festival week [and] he picked it. The year [after] all the people kept their orchards waiting for the festival week. R. Jannai [thereupon] renounced his [proprietory rights in the] orchard that year.29


GEMARA. BRING INDOORS. A Tanna taught: Provided only that he bring them into his house privily. R. Joseph had some beams of timber which he brought in during daylight. Said Abaye, But it is taught: ‘Provided only that he bring them into his house privily’! — He replied, The [requisite] privacy for these is [attained best] during daylight, since at night more men would be needed and torchbearers too would be required, making much ado.31

AND PULLS HIS FLAX OUT OF RETTING. R. Jeremiah asked of R. Zera: If a man keeps work over for the festival [week] and dies, should his children be penalized after him? Should you cite32 [the case of],

(1) Cf. rules of Ulpian: ‘An in imperfect law is one which forbids something to be done, and yet if it be done, neither rescinds it nor imposes a penalty on him who has acted contrary to the Law’. I, l.
(2) That which is perishable may be attended to in the festival week.
(3) I.e., one may do anything and everything that is necessary.
(4) I.e., he must introduce some variation. This Baraitha forbidding to reap except in the case where he has no food to eat, refutes R. Huna who, it is assumed, was not short of ready food.
(5) R. Jose's view which is given in the citation that follows and which is, however, not generally accepted.
(6) Which, however, is distinctly debarred in the anonymous Baraitha, above.
(7) As may be seen from his attitude in the first and second Mishnah (11b and 12a) in contrast to that of R. Judah in regard to both oil and wine. Whereas, In the anonymous Baraitha ascribed to him he distinctly stipulates not to thresh with cows, insisting on a variation.
(8) To explain that there is really no contradiction in the discrepancy.
(9) SBH reads better: ‘Said he, R. Huna, to him (to Raba)’.
(10) Lit., ‘every day’.
(11) On the contrary to use cows would be in this case an undesirable offensive display of his work (Rashi).
(12) During the festival week for the needs of the festival.
(13) After the festival.
(14) Or beer.
(15) To prepare which under the guise of forgetfulness or mistake for the needs of the festival with the intention of having some left over after the festival.
(16) Indicating thereby that he made the brew for the festival week.
(17) On the principle, v. Bez. 17b, especially Rashi's observation s.v.
(18) Cf. supra R. Huna's reply to Rabbah's question.
(19) R. Judah III, Rabbi's grandson.
(20) אמדושא מדושא representing the Greek form **. The amethyst was often worn (as its name implies) as a talisman against drunkenness. Or the phrase may possibly be a talisman ring having a setting of a Medusa head, a popular charm against spells and against the power of enemies; and, although this could not have been the case in our instance, it is not unlikely in the instance cited in ‘Er. 69a, where the wearer on sighting R. Judah the Prince, quickly covered it; he is considered there as a semi-heathen or renegade.
(21) Or tavern keeper.
(22) Cf. ‘Er. 69a and R. Tam's comments, Tosaf, s.v, כיון

(23) Cf. Shab. 51a.
(24) Or sawdust.
(25) Lit., ‘cursed’.
(26) Another time.
(27) For sesame oil.
(28) J.M.K. II, 2 (81a) reads: R. Simeon, R. Jannai's son.
(29) As a self-imposed penalty for having led others to do wrong.
(30) I.e., they must be deprived of any advantage gained.
(31) Lit., ‘a noisy affair’.
(32) Lit., ‘Find a case to explain (my question) by saying. . .’; or, ‘Extract an answer from the case of. . .’

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 13a

‘One who had [craftily] clipped the ear of his first-born beast’, and whose son is penalized after him,1 [I can reply that] that is because that is [an offence against] a Scriptural prohibition. Or should you cite [the case of], ‘One who sold his [non-Jewish] slave to a non-Jew’, and whose son was penalized after him, [I can say that] that is because he debarred him daily from the [performance of] religious duties.2 Here, what do we say? That the Rabbis’ intention was to penalize the man personally and he is no more, or, maybe that it was only to impose a pecuniary penalty [on his estate] and that is to be had? — R. Zera replied, You learned it [in the Mishnah]: ‘A field that has been cleared of thorns3 during the seventh year may be sowed in the post-sabbatical year; if it had been well improved4 or manured5 by hurdling cattle6 on it, it may not be sowed in the post-sabbatical year’,7 and [on this Point] R. Jose b. Hanina said: ‘We have it on tradition that if one had well improved his field and died, his son may Sow it’. This shows that our Rabbis did [intend to] penalize him,8 but his son the Rabbis did not [intend to] penalize; here too, then, it is the man himself that they would penalize, but his son the Rabbis would not have penalized. Said Abaye, We have it on tradition that if a man has defiled his fellow's clean [produce]9 and dies they do not penalize his son after him [to pay for the damage caused]. What is the reason? ‘Imperceptible damage10 is not in the category of [legal] damage’;11 the man himself the Rabbis would have penalized, but his son the Rabbis would not have penalized.


GEMARA. Raba asked of R. Nahman: What about [affording] ‘earning-jobs’13 in aid of one who has not [enough] to eat? — He replied: We learned: OR THE NEED OF A VENDOR WHO HAS NOT [ENOUGH] TO EAT. What is this [relative] clause, ‘Who has not enough to eat’ intended to cover?14 Is it not to include such [casual] ‘earning-jobs’? — Not [necessarily]; it is an explanatory clause.15 Thereupon Abaye pointed out to him an objection: ‘One should not write credit-bills during the festival [week]; but if [the creditor] does not trust [the person] or he [the clerk] has not [enough] to eat, one may [then] write’.16 What is the clause, ‘Or he has not [enough] to eat’ intended to cover here? Is it not to include [casual] ‘earning-jobs’?13 — [Yes], you may infer that.

R. Shesheth raised an objection: ‘And the Sages say, Three craftsmen [may] do work until midday on the day preceding the [Feast of] Passover,17 [namely], tailors, hairdressers and fullers; tailors, for the same reason that a private person may do [some] sewing in his usual way during the festival [week]; hairdressers and fullers, for the same reason that persons returning home from abroad,18 or coming out of prison may crop their hair and wash their clothes during the festival [week]’.19 Now, if you presume that ‘earning-jobs’ are allowed20 where one has not [enough] to eat, then also all [other] work should have been allowed here,21 because ‘earning-jobs’ are permitted20 where one has not [enough] to eat! R. Papa demurred to this [argument]: Then accordingly, building [work should] be allowed,22 just as ‘a wall which is bulging outward into the public domain, may be pulled down and rebuilt in the usual way,23 because it is a [public] danger’!24 Rabina also demurred to this [argument]: Accordingly then, a scrivener25 should be allowed [to work]22 just as one may ‘write marriage deeds,26 bills of divorcement27 and receipts’!28 Said R. Ashi:29 [How] can you argue thus from regulations governing the festival [week] to those governing the fourteenth of Nisan? Those governing the festival [week] are based on [the avoidance of] exertion and where loss is threatened the Rabbis have allowed [exertion]; whereas the regulations governing the fourteenth of Nisan are based on the exigencies of the Festival; anything which is required for the Festival our Rabbis have permitted and anything that is not required for the Festival our Rabbis have not permitted.


GEMARA. [BUT ONE MAY REMOVE THEM TO HIS COURT]. But you said at first that one's effects may not be removed at all? — Said Abaye, The latter part comes to [tell] us that [to another] house in that [same] court he may [remove his effects].34

AND WARES MAY NOT BE BROUGHT HOME FROM THE HOUSE OF THE CRAFTSMAN. Said R. Papa: Raba [once] gave us a test: We learned, ‘WARES MAY NOT BE BROUGHT HOME FROM THE HOUSE OF THE CRAFTSMAN’ and this he contrasted [with the following]: ‘Wares may be conveyed [to]35 and brought home from the house of the craftsman, even though they be not needed for the festival’!36 And we replied to him: The latter [Baraitha] refers to the fourteenth of Nisan, while here it refers to the festival week. Or, if you like, I might suggest that both [passages] refer to the festival week, [but that the ruling] here [obtains] where he trusts him37 [and] the latter [ruling obtains] where he does not trust him.38

(1) The firstborn male of ‘clean’ animals is from birth ‘dedicated’ or destined for the altar and its flesh is the priests’ due (Num. XVIII, 15-18). It may not be used for work or be shorn, unless it be born blemished or becomes accidentally permanently maimed, when it is no longer fit for sacrifice (Deut. XV, 19-22; cf. Lev. XXII, I8ff). If the owner cunningly contrives to get it injured either to avoid the trouble and expense of keeping it or to have the flesh, he is penalized to have it buried and is mulcted to half its value for the loss he caused to a priest. V. Shul. ‘Ar. Yor. De'ah. 309-310.
(2) Non-Jewish male slaves who
(with their consent) had been circumcised (cf. Gen. XVII. 12-13) and (male and female) ritually received into the household, enjoyed the privileges of resting on the Sabbaths (Ex. XX, 10) and Feasts (Deut. XII, 12, 18) and to partake of holy meats (ibid. XVI, 11) even in the priest's household (Lev. XXII, 11) and to perform such Jewish religious observances as they chose. (Cf. Ber. 20a and Suk. 20b). By selling him to a non-Jew he debarred the slave from the religious observances he learned to love and enjoy, and for this heartless act the offending master was penalized by the loss of his monetary gain.
(3) Merely picked up, cleared, lifted from the soil by the first superficial ploughing which did not constitute working the soil, forbidden Scripturally.
(4) By regular harrowing or deeper or cross ploughing. V. Tosaf. s.v. נטײבה and commentary of R. Samson of Sens on M. Sheb. IV, 2.
(5) By bringing cartloads of manure and methodically spreading it over the field.
(6) Methodically, instead of just letting cattle roam about on it.
(7) M. Sheb. IV, 2.
(8) For clearing thorns by harrowing, manuring and hurdling cattle on the field, are not of the processes explicitly forbidden in Scripture (Lev. XXV, 1-5); and though some included even such ‘secondary processes’ under the Scriptural prohibition (cf. supra 3a), the Rabbis did not press the penalty against the dead man's son.
(9) Which had been carefully guarded by the owner from contamination, if the malefactor spitefully threw (for instance) a dead reptile on the heap of washed corn or among the gathered olives or grapes (cf. Lev. XI, 29-34). Priests’ due of these could not be eaten, but might only be burnt as fuel. Pious lay-people would not buy such produce.
(10) As there is no visible change in the produce that has been thus deteriorated, he call say that all is still as it was.
(11) MS. M. and in parallel passages add here: ‘The penalty (imposed) is rabbinical (in origin) ‘.
(12) V. D.S. Other texts add also ‘fields’.
(13) I.e., find a poor man some odd, unnecessary job to do, as a chance of earning something wherewith to buy provisions for the Festival.
(14) It is assumed that the words THE NEED OF A VENDOR imply that he has not enough to eat.
(15) Explaining the phrase THE NEED OF A VENDOR. But there is no indication according to this interpretation of the Mishnah — to have any unnecessary job done in the festival week.
(16) During the festival week, plainly allowing it as a means of helping the borrower or the (professional) scribe.
(17) The fourteenth of Nisan, when from early afternoon the people began the preparation of the Paschal Lambs. Cf. pes. V, 1, 5ff.
(18) Lit., ‘from the maritime province’, generally denoting the Diaspora.
(19) V. Pes. 55b and cf. with the Mishnah 55a on the variations in the text.
(20) During the festival week.
(21) On the fourteenth of Nisan, instead of limiting the permission to three crafts only, because there may be other craftsmen who may be in need of money for food. But, as there is no mention of such a contingency there, it shows that even in such a case, unnecessary odd ‘earning-jobs’ may not be given in the festival week.
(22) On the fourteenth of Nisan.
(23) During the festival week.
(24) V. supra 7a.
(25) Lat. librarius.
(26) The terms of the marriage contract agreed to by the parents, the bride and bridegroom.
(27) To end an unhappy marriage all the sooner, it is allowed even in the festival week.
(28) V. infra 18b.
(29) There is a flaw in K. Shesheth's argument.
(30) Either (i) from one house to another in the same court, or (ii) from another's house into his own, as this is gratifying to him. V. Han., Asheri and Ritba.
(31) כלים; the term covers articles of household furniture, utensils, clothing and bedding; but obviously not tools, etc.
(32) Fearing they might be stolen.
(33) To ensure their safety.
(34) Cf. p. 75. n. 9 (ii).
(35) So SBH. p. 62. In our text as it stands, both here and pes. 55b מוליכין might possibly refer to the conveyance of larger, unportable objects, while מביאין refers to smaller, portable things. The concluding words of this discussion, however, do not take note of this possibility.
(36) V. pes. 55b.
(37) The craftsman, and may leave his things with him safely to avoid all unnecessary ‘exertion’.
(38) Fearing they might be stolen.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 13b

And [in fact] it is taught [thus]: ‘Wares may be brought [home] from the house of the craftsman, for instance, jugs from the jug maker's and tumblers from the glass maker's, but not wool from the dyer's nor articles from the house of the craftsman; but if he has not [enough] to eat one gives him his pay [in advance] and leaves the object with him, if however he does not trust him he leaves It In a house near him1 and if he is anxious about the things lest they be stolen he2 brings them home privily’.3 You have thus explained4 [the discrepancy] about ‘bringing home’, [but] the discrepancy about ‘conveying’ still remains a difficulty; for when it states WARES MAY NOT BE BROUGHT HOME, [it follows] much less may one convey [wares to the house of the craftsman]! Hence [obviously] the explanation given at first5 is the correct one.


GEMARA. R. Hiyya b. Abba and R. Assi differ [in their interpretation] both in the name of Hezekiah and R. Johanan.10 One says that the [former expression], they MAY BE COVERED, MEHAPPIN, means [covering but] lightly, and [the latter] MAY EVEN BE PILED UP, ME'ABBIN, means [spreading the straw] closely; the other says that MAY BE COVERED, means [spreading the straw] lightly or densely, while [the latter expression], MAY EVEN BE PILED UP, means miaking a sort of pile.11 It is also taught thus: ‘May be piled up [me'abbin] — making a sort of pile: these are the words of R. Judah’.

VENDORS OF FRUITS, CLOTHING AND [OTHER] WARES MAY SELL PRIVILY. The question was asked: Does THEY HAVE IMPOSED A RESTRICTION ON THEMSELVES, mean that they do not work at all, or perhaps that they do it privily? Come and hear: ‘Vendors of fruits, clothing and [other] wares sell privily for the requirements of the festival [week]; R. Jose says, The Tiberian traders have imposed a restriction on themselves not to sell at all. Deerstalkers, fowlers and fishermen catch privily for the requirements of thee festival [week]; it. Jose says, The catchers of Acra have imposed a restriction on themselves not to catch at all. Groats-pounders make hilka12 [coarse meal], tragus13 [pulse-porridge] and tisana14 [pearl-barley] privily for the requirements of the festival [week]; R. Jose says, The gristpounders of Sepphoris have imposed a restriction on themselves not to pound at all’. Abaye explained:15 Hilka means [groats of] one [grain broken] in two;16 tragus, one into three;17 tisana, one into four.18 When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said: [All these are] kuntha [spelt].

An objection was raised: Hilka, tragus and tisana are [considered as] ‘tainted’19 everywhere.20 Now this harmonizes well with the explanation that it is one [grain broken] in two, three or four; they are [considered] ‘tainted’ everywhere, because they have been rendered ‘fit’ [liable to take the taint of impurity]; but according to the explanation that they are all ‘spelt’, why then are they taken as ‘tainted’ everywhere, for these have not [necessarily] been rendered ‘fit’ [by damping]? [Sometimes they are], for instance, where the groats are [made of] peeled [spelt]; because, unless the grain had been soaked in water it would not peel. And why is it called hilka? Because it has had its ‘tunic’21 [husk] taken off. An objection was raised: ‘One who vowed [to abstain] from dagan22 is debarred even from [partaking of] the Egyptian bean23 when dry, but is allowed to eat it when fresh [green];24 and he is permitted rice,25 hilka, tragus and tisana.26 Now, this harmonizes well with the explanation that these [varieties] are so called because one [grain] is broken into two, three or four; it is Proper [to allow him to eat] because these [being now meal] no longer belong to the [category] of dagan [grain]; but according to him who says that hilka is [what we call] ‘spelt’, it is [still] properly [designated as] dagan! — This is a difficulty.

R. Huna27 permitted vendors of Pot-herbs28 to go and sell in the festival week in the market Place in the ordinary way. R. Kahana thereupon put an objection to him [from the following]: ‘A shop which opens into a colonnade may be opened and closed in the ordinary way; if it opens into the public domain, [the shopkeeper] may open one door and close one; and on the day preceding the last day of the Feast [of Tabernacles]29 he may bring out fruit and decorate the markets all round the town in honour of the last day of the Feast’. [That is to say], ‘In honour of the last day of the Feast, [he may open]; but if not in honour of the last day of the Feast, he may not [open]! That is not difficult [to explain]: This latter prohibition refers to the sale of fruits, whereas in the former case it is the sale of seasoning [pot-herbs that is allowed].




(1) The craftsman.
(2) The owner takes the things into his house.
(3) V. supra n. 3.
(4) Lit., ‘straightened out’.
(5) Namely that the Baraitha ruling (cf. Pes. 55b) refers to the fourteenth of Nisan while our Mishnah refers to the festival week. Cf. R. Ash's reply, above. For further notes on this passage v. pes., Sonc. ed. p. 276.
(6) During the festival week, to protect them from rain. קציעות are split figs, which are sun-dried and pressed into cakes. V. commentaries on Alfasi ‘s text and Krauss, TA II, 246.
(7) The figs, or the covering straw. V. Gemara.
(8) Coarse and fine.
(9) V. Gemara.
(10) All four were Palestinian teachers (Tiberias).
(11) Supra n. 2.
(12) Latin halica, alicia. Cf. Martial, Epigr. XIII, 9: ‘Villio est alicia, carior illa faba’. It is mentioned there with the fine Egyptian lentil (Niliacam . . . lentem).
(13) Lat. tragum, pulse, porridge.
(14) Lat. pitsana, barley crushed and cleansed from the husks.
(15) By popular etymology.
(16) Derived from חלק ‘divide’ (into halves).
(17) From the Greek ** in three parts.
(18) Greek ** four.
(19) Literally (ritually) defiled, potentially or actually, by the grain being washed before the milling. Fruits, grain and vegetables are not subject to ritual defilement until washed or sprayed or have Purposely been left exposed to get damped by rain or dew. After that deliberate damping these take ritual defilement by contact with defiling objects. Cf. Lev. XI, 34. 37-38 with commentaries of Rashi and Nahmanides and B.M. 22a-b, (Sonc. ed. p. 138-9).
(20) M. Maksh. VI, 2, and cf. Pes 40a.
(21) Another popular derivation from חלוק a shirt or tunic.
(22) Means ‘cereal’ in the (final) form of grain.
(23) V. supra p. 77, n. 7.
(24) When it is not called a ‘cereal’ but a ‘vegetable’ and ‘in vows we follow the (meaning of terms in) popular parlance’, Ned. 49a; cf. 55a (top) commentaries.
(25) Or hirse. V. Pes. 35a.
(26) V. Ned. 55b; Tosef. Ned. IV, 1, ZM. p. 279. 17-l8.
(27) Of Sura, Rab's disciple and successor. Many texts (v. D.S. and SBH) read here Rab Judah at Pumbeditha, also a disciple of Rab, as was also R. Kahana, mentioned next.
(28) And other ingredients for food seasoning or ‘cornchandlers’. V. Tosaf. s.v. בתבלין and כרופײתא (sing. כרופיתא), probably connected with the Greek **
(29) The bracket is omitted in the Tosefta (M.K. II, 13) and other texts and rightly so, as the addition confines the permission only to the last part of Tabernacles, whereas there is no reason to exclude that of Passover.
(30) Lit., ‘shave’.
(31) Lit., ‘From a maritime province’.
(32) Lit., ‘repelled’ for some flagrant breach of discipline, a religious or moral offence. The matter is discussed fully infra 16aff. The ‘repelled’ person was expected to go about in sorry apparel, with disordered hair during the time of disgrace. as if in mourning.
(33) A hakam, an ordained Rabbi, to absolve him of a vow to go unkempt for a period, which is found to have been made rashly and is now extremely inconvenient or impossible of fulfillment. Cf. e.g., Ned. IX, 6; 66a.
(34) V. Num. VI, 1-21. If he became defiled by contact with a corpse he had first to be ritually purified and shaved (ibid 6-9); or, on the completion of his Nazirite period (13, 18).
(35) He had likewise to be shaved and to wash his garments. Lev. XIV, 8-9.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 14a


GEMARA. What is the reason that all other men are forbidden? — As we learned: ‘Members of the ward on duty5 and [communal] Deputies at their Posts6 are forbidden [during their turn] to crop [their hair] or wash [their garments]. But on Thursday they are allowed, in honour of the Sabbath’. Now Rabbah b. Bar-Hana reporting R. Eleazar [as commenting on this] said: ‘What is the reason [they may on Thursday]? So that they should not enter [on the duty of] their Ward in a state of untidiness’. Here also the reason is that they do not enter upon the festival in a state of untidiness.

R. Zera inquired: Suppose one had lost something on the day before the festival? [Do we say], since he was prevented [from attending to himself before] he may,7 or perhaps, as the reason is not obvious, he may not? — Said Abaye: [Obviously not], as people would then say: ‘[So] all Syrian [fancy] loaves are forbidden, but the Syrian [fancy] loaves of Boethus are allowed’?8 But admitting your argument [against], yet what about it. Assi's statement? who citing R. Johanan said: ‘Anybody who has but one tunic9 is allowed to wash it during the festival week’. Would not people say in that case, too: ‘[So] all Syrian [fancy] loaves are forbidden, but the Syrian [fancy] loaves of Boethus are allowed’? — Surely it has been stated in this connection: ‘Said Mar son of R. Ashi, His girdle10 proves his plight’.11 R. Ashi's comments on our Mishnah were [in this form]: R. Zera enquired, What if a craftsman12 had lost something on the day before the festival? Do we say that since he is a craftsman, the reason [why he is allowed] is obvious, or since the reason is not so obvious as in those other cases [mentioned in the Mishnah], he may not [attend to himself in the festival week]? Let this question stand [adjourned].13

[ONE ARRIVING HOME] FROM ABROAD [MAY CROP]. [The anonymous view of] our Mishnah is not that of R. Judah. For it is taught: R. Judah says, One arriving [home] from abroad may not crop himself [during the festival week] because he had set out [on his voyage] without the approval [of the Rabbis].14 Said Raba: ‘If he merely went on a tour all [authorities] are agreed that he is forbidden;15 if to seek his bread, all are agreed that he is allowed.15 Difference of opinion arises only in the case of a voyage for business profits, one master looking upon it as equivalent to [mere] travelling, and the other master looking upon it as equivalent to seeking his bread’.

An objection was raised: ‘Said Rabbi: R. Judah's opinion seems apposite where he had set out without approval and the Sages’ opinion seems apposite where he had set out with approval’. Now, what is ‘without approval’? If I say for going on a tour, did you not say that all are agreed that he is forbidden?15 Again [should it mean] for seeking [his] bread; surely did you not say that [if with this object] all are agreed that he is allowed?16 It is obvious therefore that it means for profit-seeking.17 Now consider the latter clause: ‘And the Sages’ opinion seems apposite where he had set out with approval’; what is meant by ‘with approval’? If I say [approval to set out] for earning his bread, have you not said that all are agreed that he is allowed?16 Again, should it [rather] mean for profit [seeking]; but surely then, did you not say that’ R. Judah's [adverse] opinion seems apposite in this case [that he is forbidden]?18 — This is what he [Rabbi] meant to say: The Rabbis accept R. Judah's opinion where he had started out ‘without approval’, and what means it? For going on a tour; because, even the Sages disagree with him only on [the question of a voyage] for gaining profit, whereas in regard to going on a tour they concur with him.19 And again, R. Judah accepts the Rabbis’ opinion [that he may attend to himself]16 where he had set out ‘with approval’, and what means it? For seeking his bread; because even R. Judah disagrees with them only on [the question of a voyage] for gaining profit, whereas in regard to going out for seeking his bread he concurs with them.20

Samuel said: ‘If an infant is born during the festival [week] it is allowed to cut his hair21 during the festival [week] because there is no imprisonment22 more real than this’. [That is, only ‘if . . . born] during the festival [week]’ it may be done, but [if born] before then, it is [presumably] not allowed.23

R. Phineas raised all objection: ‘Every one of those mentioned [by the Sages] as being permitted to crop his hair during the festival [week] may [likewise] crop his hair during the [thirty]24 days of his mourning’;25 [which means conversely] that every one of those who is forbidden to crop his hair during the festival [week] is [likewise] forbidden to crop his hair during the [thirty]26 days of his mourning.

(1) Ibid. XV, 2, 5, 13.
(2) Ibid. 19-27.
(3) Ibid. XII, 2; cf. XV, 25ff.
(4) Ibid. XI, 24-25, 28, 40 and Num. XIX, 19.
(5) Mishmar, v. Glos. The priests and Levites were grouped in twenty-four wards to take their turn in the Temple. V. I Chron. XXIV, 1-19 (Priests) and 20-25 (Levites). Cf. Neh. XII, 44-47 and XIII, 29-31.
(6) Ma'amad, v. Glos. Palestine was divided into twenty-four stations or districts which sent their deputies of priests, Levites and lay Israelites to represent the community at the Temple service and they served for a week. While on duty the Deputies observed a daily fast during the day, from Monday to Thursday and in a side chapel recited Holy Writ. V. Ta'an. IV, 1; Talm. 26a and 27a.
(7) Trim himself and wash his garments during the festival week.
(8) A proverbial expression, protesting against discrimination. The origin of the proverb is found in Pes. 37a where it is objected to fancy-shaped loaves for Passover use, as the shaping of the piece of dough may delay the baking to the point of leavening. R. Boethus b. Zonin suggested that the use of moulds might easily obviate this fear, which evoked the
(proverbial) retort.
(9) Or shirt.
(10) Or loin cloth.
(11) While washing his shirt, he is either girded with a loin cloth or wears his outer garment fastened by the belt to avoid exposure of his body.
(12) A barber or bath attendant who is permitted to work on the fourteenth of Nisan, who mislaid or lost one of his tools, and his customers see him worried and hindered in his work.
(13) For a future adequate solution.
(14) Quoted in J.M.K. I, 1: ‘For R. Judah said it is forbidden to set out on a voyage on the great sea’. The reason for his disapproval is probably on account of the risk of not arriving home in time for the festival. Cf. Shab. 19a and J. Shab. 1, 3.
(15) To attend to his personal appearance during the festival week.
(16) To attend to his personal appearance during the festival week.
(17) I.e., R. Judah does not approve of a sea voyage for mere gain or profit.
(18) All of which shows that the difference cannot be as stated on the question of a voyage for profit.
(19) That he is to be penalized if his homecoming was delayed, and not allowed to trim himself during the festival week.
(20) The accepted view is that a voyage for profit is an extenuating circumstance. V. Han., Asheri and Codes.
(21) If its hair is abnormally long and, for convenience, would best be shortened. If, however, the shortening is imperative for hygienic reasons there is no question.
(22) In the pre-natal state.
(23) Since it could have been cut before the festival.
(24) So in Tosef. II, 2. I. e., if he suffered a second bereavement before the mourning days of the first expired. V. infra 17b.
(25) V. infra 17b.
(26) V. p. 83, n. 9.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 14b

Now if you say that there is a difference here in the case of the infant,1 you are this implying that [the observance of] mourning obtains in the case of a minor, whereas it is taught: ‘A minor's garment is rent out of grief of soul’?2 R. Ashi said [that the negative inference is faulty, for] does it [actually] state ‘but those who are forbidden’?3 Perhaps [it means to state] that some there are who are forbidden4 and some others who are permitted.5

Amemar, or some say. R. Shisha son of R. Idi, taught thus: ‘Samuel said: "An infant may be cropped in the festival [week]: it makes no difference whether he was born during the festival [week] or was born before".’ Said R. Phineas: We learned this also [indirectly] from [the following]: ‘Every one of those mentioned [by the Sages] as being permitted to crop during the festival [week] may likewise crop his hair during the [thirty] days of his mourning’; which means conversely, but every one of those who is forbidden to crop during the festival [week] is likewise forbidden to crop during the [thirty] days of his mourning. Now if you say that a [newly-born] infant is forbidden [to be cropped] you find yourself [implying] that [the observance of] mourning obtains in the case of a minor; whereas it is taught [distinctly]: ‘The garment of a minor is rent [merely] out of grief of soul’? — Said R. Ashi: [That negative inference is faulty for] does it [actually] state, ‘But he who is forbidden [in the festival week] is also forbidden during his [thirty] days of mourning? Probably it means that some there are who are forbidden and some others who are permitted.

A mourner does not deport himself as one in mourning during a festival, as it is said: And thou shalt rejoice in the feast.6 [For], if his mourning began before [the festival], a positive precept incumbent on the community7 overrides one incumbent on him as an individual;8 and if his mourning began just then [during the festival], an individual's function cannot come and put off that of the public.

Now what about one separated [under a ban]? Should he deport himself as one in ‘separation’ during a festival? — Said R. Joseph: Come and hear: ‘They [the Courts] deal with capital offenses, with [offenses involving judicial] floggings9 and monetary suits,10 [during the festival week]’. [This implies that] if one heeds not the [court's] decision, we put him under a ban.11 Now if you presume that he should not deport himself during the festival like one under ‘separation’, [then] seeing that where one is already fallen under a ban, the festival comes and suspends [the ban],12 shall we pronounce him banned in the first instance [during the festival]? Abaye replied: Perhaps [the object of the adjudication is] to examine the charge against him.13 For, should you not say thus, then ‘capital offenses’ therein mentioned would likewise mean indeed that they would have him slain; but surely thereby they [the judges] themselves would be debarred from ‘rejoicing in the feast’ [as is Scripturally ordained], as it is taught:14 Says R. Akiba: Whence may it be shown that a Sanhedrin [Court] that put a [sinning] soul to death do not taste [food] all that day? From the instructive text ‘Ye shall not eat on the blood’.15 Therefore [I say] it must be only to examine the charge against him, and likewise here it is only to examine the charge against him. Said R. Joseph to him: If [you explain it] so, the result is that you delay the execution of his sentence [which is forbidden]?16 But [I take it], they come early in the morning and examine the charges against him; then they go home and eat and drink all that day17 and, coming back with the setting sun, they do give a final decision and [also] have him put to death.18

Said Abaye: Come and hear:19 OR ONE UNDER A BAN TO WHOM THE SAGES HAVE GRANTED ABSOLUTION.20 Said Raba: Does it state: ‘Whom the Sages granted absolution’? It says: OR ONE UNDER A BAN TO WHOM THE SAGES HAVE [JUST] GRANTED ABSOLUTION, [that is] where he [the offender] went and appeased the plaintiff and then came before our Rabbis21 and they then set him free [from restraints].22

What about a leprous person; does he deport himself as a leper during the festival?23 — Said Abaye: ‘Come and hear: AND [ALSO] A NAZIR OR LEPER EMERGING FROM HIS [STATE OF] IMPURITY TO [BEGIN] HIS PURIFICATION [may crop his hair and wash his garments],24 which implies that during the days of his impurity he does deport himself [as a leper]’! — [No]; the Tanna considered that this goes without saying [and is to be understood thus]: It goes without saying that he does not deport himself [as a leper] during the festival.25 But when [he is emerging] into his state of cleanness we might [be inclined to] restrict him, in case he might defer26 making his [preliminary] offerings [of purification].27 Therefore he informs us [that he may, nevertheless].28 Said Raba: Come and hear:29 ‘[It is taught]: And the leper. [in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent and the hair of his head shall be loose . . .],30 that is meant to include a High Priest [in this rule]’. Now [we learned] a High Priest all through the year is on a par with any other person on a festival, as we learned: The High Priest may make sacrifice [on the altar] even when he be onen,31 without however eating thereof! From this [latter restriction of even a High Priest] you can infer [about the former] that he should deport himself as a leper during the festival. — Infer that. A mourner is forbidden to cut his hair, because since the Divine Law ordained the sons of Aaron:32 Let not the hair of your heads go loose,33 we infer that for everybody else [cutting the hair] is forbidden

(1) Whether the infant was born during or before the festival, in which latter case he must not be cropped, and consequently on the principle just enunciated he may not be cropped on his days of mourning.
(2) V. infra 26h. It is done, not as an obligatory observance on the part of the child, but merely to deepen the poignancy of grief among the mourners by including the young, unknowing child in the sorrow.
(3) ‘But those who are forbidden to crop their hair during the festival (week) are (likewise) forbidden to do it during the (thirty) days of mourning’.
(4) In the case of adults.
(5) In the case of minors.
(6) Deut. XVI, 14.
(7) The divine charge, an ‘ordinance’ to the community to observe the joyous celebration of the festival.
(8) The observance of mourning.
(9) Of thirty-nine stripes, for a well-attested breach of a Scriptural prohibition after due warning. V. Deut. XXV, 1-3; Mak., Sonc. ed. p. 90, n. 1.
(10) Claims or fines. So Tosef. M.K. II, 11.
(11) Shammetha, to enforce public discipline.
(12) I.e., his disabilities of seclusion and wearing a mourner's garb as in the case of the mourner.
(13) Without pronouncing judgment.
(14) Sanh., Sonc. ed. p. 430.
(15) Lev. XIX, 26.
(16) Cf. Aboth. V, Il and Shab. 33a.
(17) In fulfillment of the precept of rejoicing on the Festival.
(18) [Since after all a final decision is given on the festival week, it follows that the ban is necessarily imposed on the disobedient and consequently proves that the regulations of the ban are in force on the festival week.]
(19) In support of my view.
(20) The relative clause is at present assumed to mean that one who is banned is automatically released by the Sages on the festival from the disabilities of a ban.
(21) During the festival week.
(22) Otherwise he remains under his disabilities during the festival.
(23) I.e., to remain isolated, let his hair remain long and wear torn or soiled clothes as a leper, during the festival week.
(24) Cf. Mishnah supra 13b.
(25) I.e., it is immaterial either way so long as he is still an unclean leper, as he, in any case, has to resume his disabilities after the festival. V. Ritba.
(26) I.e., after having trimmed himself and changed his clothes during the festival he might postpone the offerings and bring them on the last day of the festival when a private sacrifice may not be offered.
(27) I.e., taking two live birds and spring water for the ritual sprinkling with the hyssop, as prescribed in Lev. XIV, 2-8, after which he washed his clothes and shaved his body and was to return to the camp’
(home) and after another seven days to complete his ‘purification and atonement by sacrifice at the Temple.
(28) Crop his hair and cleanse or change his torn clothes during the festival week.
(29) That the leper deports himself as a leper in the festival week also.
(30) Sifra on Lev. XIII, 45 where by laying stress on ‘And the’ together with the descriptive clause ‘in whom the plague is’ still, the wording is taken to include especially the otherwise exceptional person of the High Priest, who may never grow long hair or wear torn clothes, even when a mourner. Lev. XXI, 10.
(31) I.e., on the day of poignant grief, when the death of his near and dear occurred. This law is based on the sad experience of Aaron who lost two of his soils on the day of his induction as High Priest. He then offered up the sacrifices, but did not partake of the holy meat. V. Lev. X, 16; 16-20. Cf. Hor., Sonc. ed. pp. 90 and 93. Any other priest may not officiate during the state of onen, except on festivals when the law of onen does not apply.
(32) When Nadab and Abihu died.
(33) I.e., keep it in trim. V. Lev. X, 6 and cf, Ezek. XLIV, 20.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 15a

. What about those 'separated' [under a ban], and [segregated] lepers in regard to cutting [their hair] during the festival week? - Come and hear. 'Those "separated" [under a ban] and [segregated] lepers are forbidden to cut [their hair] and wash [their garments]. If one "separated" [under a ban] died,1 the Beth din stone his coffin; R. Judah says, not that they set up a heap of stones over him like the heap of Achan,2 but the Beth din send [commissioners]3 and have a large stone4 placed on his coffin, which teaches you that if anyone is placed under a ban and dies in his "separation", the Beth din stone his coffin'.5

A mourner is obliged to muffle his head. Since the All Merciful enjoined Ezekiel: And cover not thine upper lip,6 we infer that everybody else is obliged [to do so].7 What about one 'separated' [under a ban] in regard to muffling the head? - Said R. Joseph, Come and hear: 'And they8 muffle themselves and sit as men "separated" [under a ban] and like mourners until Heaven grants them mercy'. Said Abaye: Perhaps it is different with one who is 'separated' [under a ban] by displeasure of Heaven9 [as it were]; for that is [more] serious [than being in disfavour with man]!

What about a leper, in regard to muffling the head? - Come and hear: And he shall cover his upper lip;10 we infer from this that he is obliged to muffle his head. - Infer that.

A mourner is forbidden to put on tefillin.11 Since the All Merciful ordained Ezekiel: Bind thy headtire upon thee,12 this implies that everybody else is forbidden [to do so in deep mourning]. What about one 'separated' [under a ban], in regard to tefillin? - It stands [adjourned].

What about a leper, in regard to [putting on] tefillin? - Come and hear: [Holy Writ prescribes], 'And the leper';13 this [ampli fication] is to include [even] a High Priest [in this law];14 'his clothes shall be perumim',15 that is, they shall be torn. 'And [the hair of] his head shall be parua''.16 'Parua'' means only letting the hair grow long;17 these are the words of R. Eliezer. R. Akiba explains [otherwise]: 'Shall be' is stated in connection with the leper's head;18 and 'shall be' is stated in connection with the leper's garment.19 [Therefore] just as 'shall be' stated in connection with the garment refers to something external to the body [clothes],20 so also 'shall be' stated in connection with the head refers to something external to the body.21 What then [is to be discarded]? Is it not the reference to tefillin? - Said R. Papa, [Not necessarily these], it may refer to [not putting on] a cap or sudarium.22

A mourner is forbidden to give the usual greeting [of wellbeing],23 because the All Merciful said to Ezekiel: Sigh in silence.24 What about one 'separated' [under a ban] in regard to [abstaining from] the usual greeting?23 - R. Joseph said, Come and hear: And in regard to greeting one another 'with peace', as man to man, they [that are fasting]25 behave like persons who are 'separated' [under a ban] by the Omnipresent.26 Said Abaye to him, Perhaps [the case of] the 'separated' [as under a ban] by displeasure of Heaven is different because it is [more] serious.

What about a leper in regard to [abstaining from] greeting one 'with peace'? - Come and hear: [It is written]: And he shall cover his upper lip,27 that is, his lips shall be compressed together, that he should behave like one 'separated' [under a ban] and like a mourner, and he is forbidden to greet one 'with peace Infer that. Then why not solve now28 [the above question] about one 'separated' [under a ban]?29 - Said R. Aha b. Phineas in the name of R. Joseph: Does it [actually] state that he [the leper] is forbidden [to greet one 'with peace' like one 'separated']? It only states that he behaves like one 'separated' or like a mourner with reference to other things and at the same time that he is also forbidden to greet one 'with peace'.

A mourner is forbidden [to engage] in the words of the Torah, because the All Merciful said to Ezekiel: 'Sigh in silence'.30 What about one 'separated' [under a ban engaging in] the words of the Torah? - Said R. Joseph, Come and hear: One 'separated' [under a ban] may teach [others] and others may teach him; he may be hired [for work] and others may be hired by him. One under anathema31 neither teaches others, nor do others recite it to him; he is not hired [for work] nor are others [to be] hired by him; but he recites to himself in order that he does not interrupt his study;32 and he makes a small stall for himself [as a means] for 'his livelihood'.33 Whereat Rab34 remarked, [As for instance] selling water at the pass of Araboth.35 Infer from that.36 What about a leper [engaging] in the words of the Torah? - Come and hear: [It is written], And make them known37 unto thy children and thy children's children; the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb. [that they may learn to fear Me all the days . . . and that they may teach their children],38 that is, just as [they heard God's word] then [at Sinai] with awe, fear, trepidation and perspiration;39 [so be it now studied with awe, fear, trepidation and perspiration]. Hence sad they [the Sages], that men who are [affected] with flux,40 lepers, or such as [in error] consorted with their wife while in separation41 are allowed to read [Scripture] out of the Torah [Pentateuch], the Prophets or the Hagiographa42 or to recite [orally] Mishnah,43 Midrash,44 Gemara,45 Halachah or Aggadah;46 while those who have night pollutions are forbidden.47 You may infer it from that.

A mourner is forbidden to wash his clothes, for it is written, And Joab sent to Tekoa and fetched thence a wise woman and said unto her: 'I pray thee, feign thyself to be a mourner and put mourner apparel, I Pray thee and anoint not thyself with oil, but be as a woman that had a long time mourned for the dead'.48 What about the 'separated' [under a ban] and the lepers washing their clothes? - Come and hear: Persons 'separated' [under a ban] and lepers are forbidden to cut [their hair] or wash [their clothes]. You may infer it from here.

A mourner is in duty bound to rend [his garments], because the All Merciful enjoined the sons of Aaron, 'Neither rend [your clothes]'.49 From here you infer that everyone else is bound to do it. What about one 'separated' [under a ban] rending his garments? It stands [adjourned].

What about the leper rending his garments? - Come and hear: 'His clothes shall be perumim'50 which means they shall be rent. [Yes], infer it.

A mourner is bound to overturn his couch, because Bar Kappara taught:

(1) Sem. V, 11 adds: 'he requires a stoning'.
(2) Josh. VII, 25.
(3) Sem. ibid. has: But a messenger of the Beth din takes a stone and puts it on his coffin to carry out on him the ordinance of a stoning.
(4) Cf. Lev. XXIV. 23.
(5) Cf. 'Ed. V, 6 (Sonc. ed. p. 25) and Ber. 19a.
(6) Ezek. XXIV, 17.
(7) Under similar circumstances of bereavement, as Ezekiel's grief was meant to be excessively poignant.
(8) Some of the leading Rabbis who meet to fast and pray on account of the shortage of rain. V. Ta'an. 14b.
(9) The drought being the sign of Heaven's displeasure.
(10) Lev. Xlll, 45. 'Cover' here is the same term as used in Ezek. XXIV, 17; 22-23.
(11) Phylacteries. Cf. Deut. VI, 4-9; XI, 19 and Prov. III, 3; VI, 20-23.
(12) Ezek. XXIV, 17-23.Cf. Targum ad loc.
(13) Lev. XIII, 45. V. the full text cited by Raba p. 87.
(14) V. supra p 87, n. 5.
(15) Note the phrase, also the specific meaning of the root פרם, to tear, rend clothes, as here. It is used again twice (Lev. X, 6; and XXI, 10) and Lily in connection with Aaron and his sons; (not) to rend their garments for the dead.
(16) Note this phrase as well as the several meanings of the root פרע; (a) to be, or get free (from restraint or debt), be loose; (b) to grow freely (of hair, foliage or branches), Num. VI, 5; (c) to let go free, without restraint (Ex. XXXII, 25); (d) to uncover, loosen, disarrange (hair etc.), Num. V, 18.
(17) V. 3b. Cf. Pseudo Jonathan on Lev. XIII, 45.
(18) V. supra p. 87, n. 5.
(19) V. supra ibid.
(20) I.e., his clothes are to be rent exposing parts of the body as a sign of distress and mourning.
(21) I.e., his head to be left bare, uncovered, by not putting on any external covering, as a sign of distress and mourning. Cf. Onkelos on Lev. XIII, 45.
(22) A Latin word meaning a napkin; here a cloth used as a kerchief.
(23) Lit., 'ask after peace'. E.g., Gen. XXIX, 6: 'Is it (peace) well with him? 'Is well': ibid. XLIII, 27. To ask such a question would be invidious and a happy reply even painful to the mourner who is in deep sorrow.
(24) Ezek. XXIV, 17; 22-23. Keep your grief to yourself, but outwardly chat and greet people freely, implying that other mourners may not greet, Han.
(25) on account of the prolonged drought.
(26) V. Ta'an. 12b.
(27) Lev. XIII, 45, with reference to a leper.
(28) From the leper's silence.
(29) Left in suspense because of Abaye's query that perhaps the demeanour of the faster is no criterion, as a public calamity such as drought, Hood, or epidemic disease etc. seems a more serious indication of divine displeasure than the sorrow of an individual.
(30) But converse and talk freely, as if nothing is amiss; implying that other mourners are forbidden. The learned discussion on the words of the Torah is deemed as a joy. V. Ps. XIX, 9-11; CXIX, 15-16 etc.
(31) One put under herem. This is the extreme disciplinary measure taken against a refractory offender, who persists in his defiance of the first reprimand' (for seven days); the 'separation' (or exclusion) for another seven days (in Babylon and thirty days in Palestine), refusing to submit. The matter is dealt with fully infra 16a.
(32) MS.M., 'Does not impair his studies'.
(33) Cf. Sem. V, 12-13 (where the text is defective).
(34) MS.M., R. Hisda.
(35) A place proverbially notorious for its lack of water, and highly infested by brigands. Cf. Ber. 54a; Naz. 43b. The best place where a man like him would find ready customers.
(36) That one under a ban is permitted to engage in the words of the Torah.
(37) 'The things which the eyes saw', i.e., the scene at Sinai.
(38) Deut. IV, 9-10.
(39) 'And when people saw it they trembled . . .' Ex. XX, 15.
(40) Lev. XV, 2ff.
(41) I.e., within the forbidden period of menses. V. Lev. XV, 19, 24 and XX, 18.
(42) Because 'The sacred word is not subject to defilement'; besides, it cleanses the mind and heart.
(43) The Mishnah par excellence. Inserted by MS.M.
(44) Lit., 'exposition' of the Biblical text.
(45) Lit., 'oral' or 'complementary' teaching and explanations of the Mishnah received from the mouth of a master. These constitute the study of the Talmud.
(46) Halachah is matter of legal import, and Aggadah is ethical and homiletical exposition.
(47) V. Ber. 22a, where the subject is discussed at length showing the divided opinions of teachers, who ultimately inclined to recognize human weakness along with the value of the study of Torah as a moral aid. Cf. Mak. 10a and 23b (Sonc. ed. pp. 62, 169ff).
(48) II Sam. XIV, 2.
(49) Lev. X, 6. At the death of their brothers Nadab and Abihu, during their installation into their priestly office.
(50) Ibid. XIII, 45. Cf. Supra p. 89, n. 2.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 15b

'[God says], "I have set the likeness of mine image on them and through their sins have I upset it; let your couches be overturned1 on account thereof".' What about one 'separated' [under a ban] and a leper overturning couches? Let this stand [adjourned].

A mourner is forbidden to engage in work, for it is written: And I shall turn your feasts into mourning;2 [hence we say] that just as it is forbidden to engage in work during a Feast [festival], so is it forbidden to engage in work during mourning. What about one 'separated' [under a ban] in regard to doing work? - Said R. Joseph: 'Come and hear: "When the Sages said that it is forbidden them3 to engage in work, [about themselves, bathe, don shoes. . .], they laid this down only for the daytime, but at night it is all permitted and [the same restrictions] you find also in the case of one 'separated' and a mourner."4 Does not this refer to all those [restrictions]?' - No, it is only to the other things, [but not to work].

Come and hear: 'One "separated" [under a ban] teaches [others] and others teach him; he is hired [for work] and others are hired by him'.5 You may infer from that. What about a leper engaging in work? - Let this stand [adjourned]. A mourner is forbidden to wash himself, as it is written, And anoint not thyself with oil,6 and bathing is implied in anointing.7 What about one 'separated' [under a ban] bathing? - Said R. Joseph, Come and hear: 'When the Sages said that it is forbidden then, to wash [on the fast day] they meant only in regard to washing the whole body, but one is permitted to wash one's face, hands or feet, and [the same restrictions] you find also in the case of one "separated" [under a ban] and a mourner'8 . Now, does not this refer to all the restrictions? - No, [only] to the others [but not to bathing]. What about the leper washing himself? - Let this stand [adjourned].

A mourner is forbidden to put on sandals [shoes], as the All Merciful ordained Ezekiel, And put thy shoes upon thy feet,9 which implies that for everyone else it is forbidden [to do so]. What about one 'separated" [under a ban] putting on sandals? - Said R. Joseph, Come and hear: 'When the Sages said that it is forbidden then, [on the fast day] to put on sandals, they meant only in town, but on the road it is permitted. When, for instance? When one sets out on the road he puts on [shoes], on entering town, he takes them off: and [the same] you find also in the case of one "separated" [under a ban]'.8 Now, does not this refer to all those [restrictions]?10 - No, [only] to the other.11 What about the leper putting on sandals? - Let this stand [adjourned].

A mourner is forbidden the use of the [conjugal] bed, as it is written: And David comforted Bath-Sheba his wife and went in unto her,12 which implies that before then13 it was forbidden [him]. What about one 'separated' [under a ban] in regard to the use of the [conjugal] bed? - Said R. Joseph, Come and hear: All those years that Israel spent in the wilderness they were 'separated' [under a ban]14 yet they used their [conjugal] beds.15 Said Abaye: But, maybe, the case of those who are 'separated' by [displeasure] of Heaven is different because it is less serious? [You say], 'less serious'! But you argued [before]16 that it was more serious? - He is uncertain on the point; [if you] go [and argue] this way, he rebuts it, and if you go [and argue] the other way, he [again] rebuts it. What about a leper, in regard to the use of the [conjugal] bed? - Come and hear, for it is taught: '[It is written], But [he] shall dwell outside his tent seven days',17 that is, he shall be like one 'separated' [under a ban] and like a mourner; and he is forbidden the use of the [conjugal] bed, as '[outside] his tent' means only [apart from] his wife, as it is said: Go say to them: Return ye to your tents.18 You may infer it from that. Then could not one now by this [conclusion] solve the above question [on this point] about one 'separated' [under a ban]? - Said R. Huna19 son of Phineas in R. Joseph's name: Does it state [categorically] that he [the leper] is forbidden [like one 'separated']? It only states that he is like one 'separated' [under a ban] and like a mourner in respect of other things and that he be [also] forbidden the use of the [conjugal] bed.20

A mourner does not send his sacrifices [to the Temple], for it is taught: Says R. Simeon, [It is written, And thou shalt sacrifice] peace-offerings21 and eat there,22 and thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God,23 that is, one offers 'peace-offerings' [only] at times when one is untroubled,24 but not at a time when one is onen,25 What about one 'separated' [under a ban], should he [then] send his offerings? - Said R. Joseph, Come and hear: All those years that Israel spent in the wilderness they were 'separated' [under a ban]26 and [yet] they sent their offerings [to the Tabernacle]. Said Abaye to him: But perhaps one 'separated' by [the displeasure of] Heaven is different, because it is not so serious? [You say], 'Not so serious'! But you argued [before] that it was more serious! - [Abaye] being uncertain on the point rebutted it [either way]. What about a leper, may he send his [sacrificial] offerings? - Come and hear: And after he [a defied priest] is cleansed27 - [that is, cleansed]28 after coming away from his dead near of kin - they shall reckon unto him seven days29 - those are the seven days which he has to count30 - and in the day that he goeth into the Sanctuary,31 into the inner court,32 to minister in the Sanctuary, he shall offer his sin-offering33

(1) So MS.M.; cur. edd.: 'overturn their couches'. Cf. Ezek. XXIV, 23 and J. Ber. Ill, 1.
(2) Amos VIII, 10.
(3) Those praying and fasting on account of persistent drought.
(4) Ta'an. 13a; Tosef. Ta'an. 1, 6; J. Ta'an. I, 3 twice, and J.M.K. III, 5.
(5) V. supra 15a.
(6) II Sam. XIV, 2.
(7) V. Ruth III, 3 and Yoma76.
(8) Cf. supra p. 92, nn. 5 and 6.
(9) Ezek. XXIV, 17.
(10) Including that of not wearing sandals.
(11) Exclusive of sandals.
(12) Il Sam. XII, 24 and infra 21a.
(13) During the period of mourning.
(14) Deut. 1, 34-35; 43-44. Cf Mekilta, Bo. Poem, based on Deut. II, 15-16.
(15) Deut. I, 39.
(16) V. supra p. 90.
(17) Lev. XIV, 8.
(18) Deut. V, 27. Cf. supra 7b.
(19) Var. lec. Aha.
(20) V. supra p. 93.
(21) שלמים derived here from שלם, to be whole, hale and at peace.
(22) These 'peace-offerings' were usually brought to the Temple by the pilgrims during the festivals (of Passover, Weeks and Tabernacles) and after the altar rites had been performed and the priests given their due portions (Lev. VII, 29-34), the worshippers with their family group ate the remainder of the sacrificial meat in a state of ritual purity as joyous celebrants (Deut. XII, 6-7; 17-19; XXVII, 7).
(23) Deut. XXVII, 7.
(24) Lit., 'whole'. Cf. n. 1.
(25) V. Supra p. 87, n. 6.
(26) V. n. 2 and Yeb. 72a. (12) Lev. XVII, 5. (Private peace-offerings). V. however Men. 45b.
(27) Ezek. XLIV, 26.
(28) V. verse 25; about the ritual sprinkling after being defiled by the dead (before one may enter the sanctuary), Num. XIX, 11-13; 19-20.
(29) The (above) ritual sprinkling from defilement by contact with the dead was done on the third and seventh days after having separated from the corpse; but the use of the phrase 'they shall reckon seven days' instead of 'they shall sprinkle upon him' is taken to be reminiscent of the seven days for a leper on his recovery and his preliminary ritual cleansing, before leaving his place of Isolation (Lev. XI V, 1-8), which were followed by another seven days of ritual purification before he may proceed on the eighth day with his final purification and atonement. (Ibid. 8-11). Accordingly, the case of a leprous priest is read into the text of Ezekiel. For obviously it would be useless to cleanse a leprous priest (or layman) from his defilement by the dead while still being unclean as a leper, and as such unfit to enter the camp or sanctuary.
(30) As a leper, 11 the course of his cleansing.
(31) After having been purified from both defilements.
(32) As a priest.
(33) Prescribed for a recovered leper (Lev. Xlv, 19 or 22); or it might be translated, 'His (offerings for) cleansing' (cf. Lev. Xlv, 52; Num. VIII, 7; XIX, 9, 12, 19). V. supra n. 3.


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