The Babylonian Talmud

Mo'ed Katan


Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 16a

— which is his [own meal-oblation1 consisting of] one tenth part of an ephah [of fine flour]: These are the words of R. Judah. R. Simeon says, [the wording:] And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary [into the inner court to minister in the sanctuary], he shall offer his sinoffering2 [implies that only] when he is fit to go into the sanctuary he is fit to offer up [his own oblation]: and when he is not fit to go into the sanctuary, he is not fit to offer up [his own oblation].3 Raba said: Whence do we know4 the regulation that we send a messenger of the Court?5 — From what is written: And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab.6 And whence do we know that we summon7 him to attend [in person]? — From what is written, And Moses said to Korah, Be thou and all thy congregation before the Lord, thou and Aaron [tomorrow].8 [Whence, to appear] ‘before a great personage’? — From what is written, Before the lord.8 [To name both parties], ‘thou and So-and-so’? — From what is written, Thou and they [that are with thee] and Aaron.8 That we fix a time? — As it is written, To-morrow.8 Time and again?9 — As it is written: They called there,10 Pharaoh the king of Eqypt [the author of] ‘commotion’; he hath let the appointed time pass by. [As I live, saith the King, the Lord of Hosts, surely like Tabor among the mountains and like Carmel by the sea, so shall he come].11 And whence do we know that if one behaves insolently towards the Court's messenger and the latter comes and reports it, this is not deemed slander [on his part]? — As it is written: [And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab]; And they said: [We will not come up]6 . . . Wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? [We will not come up].12 Whence do we derive that we [may] pronounce a shammetha13 [imprecation]? — From the text: Curse ye Meroz.14 Whence do we derive that it must be according to the considered opinion of some prominent person? — From the text: [Curse ye Meroz] said the angel of the Lord14 [to Barak]. And whence do we derive that we pronounce the herem?15 — Front the [same] text: Curse ye a cursing.16 Whence do we derive that [it falls on one who] eats and drinks with the offender or stands within four cubits of him? — From the same text: [Curse ye a cursing] the inhabitants thereof.17 Whence do we derive that we publish the details of his offence? — From the [same] text: Because they [the denizens of Meroz] came not to the help of the Lord. And, said ‘Ulla, Barak pronounced the shammetha18 against Meroz with [the blast of] four hundred horns. Some say that Meroz was [the name of] a great personage;19 others say that it was [the name of] a star,20 as it is written [there]: They fought from Heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.21 Whence do we derive that his property may be forfeited?22 — From the text: And whosoever come not within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited and himself separated from the congregation of the captivity.23 Whence do we derive that we may quarrel [with an offender], curse him, smite him, pluck his hair and put on him an oath?24 — From the text: And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them and plucked off their hair and made them swear by God.25 Whence do we derive that we may fetter, arrest and prosecute them? — From the text: [Let judgment be executed upon him with all diligence], whether it be unto death, or to uprooting, or to confiscation of goods or to imprisonment.26 What is meant by ‘uprooting? Said [R.] Adda Mari, reporting Nehemiah b. Baruch, who said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Abin, who had it from Rab Judah, it mean the hardafah.27 What is denoted by hardafah? — Said Rab Judah son of R. Samuel b. Shelath in the name of Rab: It means, They declare him ‘separated’28 forthwith; then [if he still persists] they repeat [the same declaration] after thirty days,29 and finally they pronounce the herem on him after sixty days. Said R. Huna b. Hinena, This is what R. Hisda said: They [first] warn him on Monday, [then] on the Thursday30 [following] and [again on the] Monday. This rule applies if he disregards a monetary judgment; but in a case of sheer contumacy the ban is imposed forthwith. When a certain butcher had been insolent to R. Tobai b. Mattena, Abaye and Raba were appointed31 to investigate and they pronounced the shammetha on him. In the end, the fellow went and appeased his litigant.32 Said Abaye, What is one to do? Should we absolve him now? The shammetha had not lasted [its] thirty days.33 Shall we not absolve him? The Rabbis want to go in to him!34 Said lie to R. Idi b. Abin: ‘Have you [perchance] heard aught bearing on this?’ He replied: ‘Thus said R. Tahlifa b. Abimi as reporting Samuel: "A toot35 binds and a toot releases!"’ [Said Abaye] to him, Yea, but this obtains only in the case of disregarding a monetary decision, but in a case of contumacy [it holds] until it has rested on him for thirty days! Anyhow, that shows that Abaye was of opinion that if three people had pronounced the shammetha on a man three others cannot come and release him!36 For the question was raised: If three people had pronounced the shammetha on a man, can three others come and remit it for him? — Come and hear: ‘One who has been "separated" [under a ban] by the master is [deemed as] "separated" from the disciple;37 but one who has been "separated" by the disciple is not [considered as] "separated" from the master. One who is "separated" by his own town is also "separated" from another town; but one who is "separated" by another town is not [considered] "separated" from his own town. One who is "separated" by the Nasi [Prince] is "separated" in all Israel; but one who is "separated" by all Israel is not [thereby] "separated" from the "Prince". Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says that if one of the disciples had "separated" someone and died, his part is not nullified’. From this you derive three points: — [a] That if a disciple ‘separated’ someone in [defence of] his personal dignity,38 the ‘separation’ lies, and you infer [b] that each person revokes his own part, and you infer [c] that if a body of three have pronounced a shammetha on a person, three others may not come and release him.39

Amemar said: ‘The rule in practice is, that if a body of three have laid a shammetha on a person, a body of three others [can] come and release him’. Said R. Ashi to Amemar, But it is taught: ‘Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says that if one of the disciples "separated" someone and died, his part is not nullified’! Does not this meal, that it cannot be nullified at all? — No, [it means] not until a body of three others come and release him.

Our Rabbis taught: No ‘separation’ ban holds less than thirty days and no ‘reproof’40 holds less than seven days; and although there is no direct proof on that point, there is an [indirect] ‘indication’ of it: If her father had but spit in her face, should she41 not hide in shame seven days? [Let her be shut up without the camp seven days and after that he shall be brought in again].42

R. Hisda remarked, ‘Our "separation" [in Babylon] corresponds to their "reproof" [in Palestine]’. But is their ‘reproof’ of only seven days’ duration, not more? Is it not a fact that R. Simeon, Rabbi's son, and Bar Kappara were once sitting rehearsing the lesson together when a difficulty arose about a certain passage43 and R. Simeon said to Bar Kappara, ‘This [matter] needs Rabbi [to explain it]’, and Bar Kappara replied: ‘And what forsooth can Rabbi [have to] say on this?’ He went and repeated it to his father, [at which] the latter was vexed, and [when] Bar Kappara next presented himself before Rabbi, he said: ‘Bar Kappara, I have never known you!’44 He realized that he [Rabbi] had taken the matter to heart and submitted himself to the [disability of a] ‘reproof’ for thirty days. Again, on one occasion, Rabbi issued an order that they should not teach disciples in the open public market place.
(What was his exposition?45 — How beautiful are thy steps in sandals, O prince's daughter!46 The roundings of thy thighs are like the links of a chain [the work of the hands of a skilled workman].47 As the thigh is covered

(1) If he is a common priest, after full purification and re-admission into the inner court of the priests, he might on that very day officiate and offer up his own free-gift oblation (v. Men. 73-74a). This proves that as long as he is unclean, whether through contact with dead or through leprosy, he cannot bring his offerings.
(2) Ezek. XLIV, 27.
(3) That is, R. Simeon does not allow a leper and common priest or a layman to send his offerings to the Temple until after his purification and atonement by sacrifices. For a leper had to attend in person to be purified by the stated ceremony (Lev. XIV, 11, 14-18, 20).
(4) Scripturally.
(5) So amended by Bah. V. D.S. To invite one to a suit.
(6) Num. XVI, 12.
(7) The defendant.
(8) Ibid. 16.
(9) If he does not obey the first summons.
(10) ‘Summoned’, so the Targum.
(11) Jer. XLVI, 17-18. V. Rash. Cf. Targum and Rashi ad loc cit.
(12) Num. XVI, 12-l4. V. Rashi.
(13) משמתינן probably a dialectical form for משמדינן from שמד to curse, which occurs in this sense of ‘cursing’ in a Nabatean El-Hejra inscription (Cooke N. Sem. Inscr. No. 80p. 220 line 8); cf. infra 17a note on etymology.
(14) Judg. V, 23.
(15) V. supra p. 90, n. 5.
(16) I.e., a repeated cursing (of the defiant sinner).
(17) Cf. Judg. V, 23.
(18) Note that shammetha is here used as the equivalent of herem, or its Aramaic form ahramta.
(19) Or hero, who gave his name to the city ‘Meroz’. V. Gen. IV, 17, Num. XXXII, 41-42; also cf. Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea, Constantinople.
(20) A planet, like Mars, Mercury, Jupiter; or a constellation, like Perseus or Orion.
(21) Judg. V, 20.
(22) In the case of disobedience of the court.
(23) Ezra X, 8.
(24) To desist from his malpractices.
(25) Neh. XIII, 25.
(26) Ezra VII, 26.
(27) Active pursuit, ‘prosecution’; cf. Judg. XX, 43 for the term in this sense
(28) Repel or expel him from their midst. Niddui and herem are Mishnaic, Palestinian terms, while shammetha is a popular Babylonian term loosely used for either, and whose legal denotation was the subject of discussion in Talmudic times (e.g., Ned. 7a-b) and later in Geonic responsa; as to its precise meaning, v. B.M. Lewin's Otzar ha-Geonim IV on Mashkin, Responsa 29ff, pp. 17-19.
(29) The ordinary period of niddui, ‘separation’.
(30) The Beth din had their regular sessions on Mondays and Thursdays: a practice said to have been one of the Ten Institutions introduced by Ezra, B.K. 82a (Sonc. ed. p. 466).
(31) With a third person, v. infra.
(32) Apologized to R. Tobai.
(33) The normal period of a ‘separation’. V. R. Han.
(34) They need him to obtain their meat. [Var. lec. ‘The Rabbis wish to depart’ (Han.). The Rabbis, who took part in imposing the ban and who must consequently be present at the absolution, wish to depart and the opportunity of releasing him will thus be lost, v. infra].
(35) The horn blown at banning.
(36) [Rashi! Since he himself was anxious to perform the release. In var. lec. supra n. 6 the question is clear.]
(37) I.e., the ban is effective also as far as the disciple is concerned; and similarly in all the other cases that follow.
(38) [Since we find that a disciple's ban has no force as far as the teacher is concerned, which can apply only to a ban imposed in defence of the disciple's own dignity, and not to one for a general transgression.]
(39) [(b) and (c) are inferred from the statement of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. The phrase ‘his part is not nullified’ is taken to mean that it can never be nullified.]
(40) Nezfah, a ‘snub’; sometimes ge'arah, a ‘shout’. Cf. Gen. XXXVII, 10 and Zech. II, 2.
(41) Miriam.
(42) Num. XII, 14.
(43) שמעתא; something ‘heard’ or ‘repeated’, usually a halachic interpretation repeated in the name of a well-known master.
(44) I.e., I don't (want to) know you, stay away, or I have never been able to understand your attitude towards me. B. Kappara clashed with Rabbi on several occasions. The cause, it seems, was not personal, but rather due to the different schools to which they each belonged. B. K. belonged to the ‘Southern Sages’ (Lydda and Caesarea) and was himself the compiler of an often quoted collection of Mishnah (Baraitha).
(45) A question interrupts the quotation.
(46) The Torah, which is allegorically represented by Shulammith, ‘Perfection’ or ‘Pence’, the beloved of Solomon (the divine) King of Perfection or Peace. Cf. Prov. III, 13-18; VIII, 1 ff.
(47) Cant. VII, 2. (Cf. its counterpart V, 15).

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 16b

so the [discussions on the] words of the Torah are also [to be] under cover.)1 — R. Hiyya went out and taught the sons of his two brothers in the [open] marketplace, Rab and Rabbah son of Kar Hana. Rabbi heard [of this and] was vexed. [When] R. Hiyya [next] presented himself before him, Rabbi said to him, ‘Iyya!2 Who is calling you outside?’ He realized that he [Rabbi] had taken the matter to heart, and sub mitted himself to [the disability of] a ‘reproof’ for thirty days. On the thirtieth day Rabbi sent him a message saying ‘Come!’ Later he sent him a message not to come! (What3 was his idea in sending the first [message] and what in sending the second? At first he thought ‘part of the day may be deemed equivalent to the whole day’ and in the end he thought, we do not say part of the day may be deemed equivalent to the whole day’.)4 In the end he came. Said Rabbi to him, Why have you come? R. Hiyya replied: ‘Because you, Sir, sent for me to come’. But then I sent to you not to come! He replied: ‘The one [messenger] I saw and the other I have not seen’. Thereupon he [Rabbi] cited [as appropriate] the text: When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.5 Wherefore, Sir, [asked Rabbi] did you act thus [contrary to order]? — Because, replied R. Hiyya, it is written: Wisdom crieth aloud it, the street: [She uttereth her voice in the broad places; she calleth at the head of the street; at the entrance of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words].6 Said Rabbi to him: ‘If you read Holy Writ [once], you have not read it a second time; if you have read it a second time, you have not react it a third time; and if you have read it a third time, they [who taught you] have not explained it to you’.7 [The text] ‘Wisdom crieth aloud in the streets’ is [to be taken] in the sense in which Raba [explained it];8 for Raba said: ‘If one studies the Torah indoors, the Torah proclaims his merit abroad’. But then is it not written [otherwise]: ‘From the beginning I have not spoken in secret’?9 — That has [special] reference to the ‘Kallah’ days.10 And what [use] does R. Hiyya make of the text — ‘The roundings of thy thighs’? — He explained it in reference to the dispensing of charity and acts of lovingkindness.11 Thus12 [you see] the disability of their ‘reproof’ [in Palestine] lasts thirty days! — The ‘reproof’ of a Nasi is different. And our ‘reproof’, how long [is its disability]? — One day [only], as in the case of Samuel and Mar ‘Ukba.13 When they were sitting together [at the College] engaging in the revision of some theme, Mar ‘Ukba sat before him14 at a distance of four cubits; and when they sat together at a judicial session, Samuel sat before him14 at a distance of four cubits and a place was dug out15 for Mar ‘Ukba where he sat on a matting so that what he16 said should be heard. Every day Mar ‘Uba accompanied Samuel to his house. One day he16 was [rather] engrossed in a suit, and Samuel walked behind him. When he16 had reached his house, Samuel said to him: ‘Haven't you been rather a long time at it?17 Take up now my case!’18 He16 then realized that he [Samuel] felt aggrieved and submitted himself to the [disability of a] ‘reproof’ for one day.

There was a certain woman who sat sprawling on the footway fanning the husks out of her barley groats, and when a Collegiate was walking past her she did not make way for him. He said, ‘How impudent is this woman!’ She came before R. Nahman. Said he to her, Did you hear him utter the shammetha?19 She replied [she had] not. Said he to her, Go and submit yourself to the [disability of a] ‘reproof’ for one day.19 Zutra b. Tobiah was [once] expounding a Scriptural lesson in the presence of Rab Judah. Coming to the verse: And these are the last words of David,20 he said to R. Judah. ‘Last words’: this implies that there were former words; which are those former [words]? He [Rab Judah] kept silent, without saying anything. Again said the former: ‘Last words! This implies there were former words; which are those former [words]’? — He [then] replied: What, think you that one who does not know an explanation of that text is not an eminent man? He [Zutra] realized that he [Rab Judah] had taken the matter to heart [and] submitted himself to the [disability of a] ‘reproof’ for one day. Now, however, that we have come upon this question: ‘"Last words", this implies that there were former words’, what were they? — [These:] And David spoke unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies and out of the hand of Saul.21 The Holy One, blessed ‘be He, said to David, David do you compose a song on the downfall of Saul? Had you been Saul and he David, I would have annihilated many a David out of regard for him. Hence it is written, ‘Shiggaion22 of David, which he said unto the Lord, concerning Cush a Benjamite.23 Was Cush that Benjamite's name? And was not his name Saul? — But, just as a Cushite [Ethiopian]24 is distinguishable by his skin, so was Saul distinguished by his deeds. In like manner you explain: ‘[And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses] because of the Cushite woman that he had take;, to wife.25 Was she a Cushite [woman]? Was not her name Zipporah? But as a Cushite woman is distinguishable by her skin so was also Zipporah distinguished by her deeds. In like manner you explain: Now Ebed-Melek the Cushite . . . heard.26 Now was his name Cushite? Was not his name Zedekiah?27 But as the Cushite is distinguishable by his skin so was Zedekiah distinguished by his deeds. In like manner you explain: Are ye not as the children of the Cushites unto me, O children of Israel, saith the Lord?28 Now is their name [children of] Cushites? Was not their name [children of] Israel? The truth is that as the Cushite is distinguishable by his skin, so are Israel distinguished by their ways29 from all other nations.30

R. Samuel b. Nahmani citing R. Jonathan. explained: [And these tire the last words of David], The saying of David the son of Jesse and the saying of the man raised on high,31 [means, it is] the saying of David the son of Jesse who established firmly the yoke [discipline] of repentance.32 [The spirit of the Lord spoke by the and His word was upon ny tongue]. The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: Ruler over man shall be the righteous, even he that ruleth through the [reverent] fear of God.33 What does this mean? — Said R. Abbahu, It means this: ‘The God of Israel said, to the [David] spake the Rock of Israel; I rule man; who rules Me? [It is] the righteous: for I make a decree and he [may] annul it’.34

And these tire the names of the mighty of David: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite [etc.].35 What does this mean? — Said R. Abbahu, It means: And these are the mighty deeds of David: ‘Josheb-basshebeth’ — [which means], sitting at the session;36 [that is], When David sat at the College Session he was not seated on cushions and coverlets but on the [bare] ground.37 For all the time that his Master, Ira the Jairite,38 was alive he taught the Rabbis whilst being himself seated on cushions and coverlets; when his soul found rest David used to teach the Rabbis being himself seated on the ground.39 Said they [the Rabbis] to him: ‘Sit, sit on the cushions and coverlets’; but he would not accede to their request.

‘Tahchemoni’.40 Rab explained: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him [to David], ‘Since you have humbled yourself you shall be like Me [that is], that I make a decree and you [may] annul it’. ‘Chief of the Captains’,41 [that is] you be chief next to the three Fathers. He is Adino42 the Eznite,43 [that is] when he was sitting engaged in the [study of] Torah he rendered himself pliant as a worm, but when he went marching out to [wage] war he hardened himself like a lance. ‘On eight hundred slain at one time’, [that is] when he threw a javelin he felled eight hundred slain at one time and moaned for the [shortage of] two hundred, for it is written: How one should chase a thousand.44 But an echo came forth and said: ‘Save only for the matter of Uriah the Hittite’!45

Said R. Tanhuni son of R. Hiyya a man of Kefar Acco as citing R. Jacob b. Aha who reported R. Simlai; and some say, R. Tanhun, said as reporting R. Huna; and again some say, R. Huna alone said that

(1) The motive of this new restriction is not given. It was an old common practice to teach in the open. perhaps it was to avoid misrepresentation on the part of the passing crowds who might mistake the heated discussions for acrimonious disputations. The quotation is now resumed.
(2) Imitating Hiyya's defective pronunciation; he could not correctly pronounce the guttural letters. Cf. Meg. 24b.
(3) The quotation is here again interrupted.
(4) Cf. infra p. 129 and Pes. 4a where R. Hiyya's action determines the former alternative to be the ‘rule in practice’.
(5) Prov. XVI, 7.
(6) Ibid. I, 20-21.
(7) Cf. Ber. 18a where R. Hiyya makes the same retort to R. Jonathan.
(8) Much later; Rabbi died about 200 C.E. and Raba lived 299-352 C.E.
(9) Isa. XLVIII, 16, the prophet speaking in the name of God. This is taken to refer to the Revelation when the Torah was given to all Israel assembled at Sinai and heard by all the other nations. Cf. Shab. 88b and Zeb. 116a.
(10) These were half-yearly assemblies held in Adar and Elul, before the great Festivals.
(11) I.e., to ‘be practiced privately.
(12) Reverting to the original question.
(13) ‘Mar’ is a Babylonian title of rank and is sometimes also borne by Samuel, but mostly by the members of the Exilarch's family. Samuel was the principal of the Academy at Nehardea and the Chief justice, while Mar ‘Ukba was both a disciple of Samuel and Exilarch, the supreme civil Head of the Jewish community invested with authority by the persian king. This Mar ‘Ukba is probably the same as Nathan ‘Ukban who succeeded his father ‘Anan or Huna as Exilarch shortly before the rise of the Neo-Persian rule of the Sassanids (c. 226 C.E.). V. W. Bacher, Jew. Encyc. Vol. V, 289a s.v. Exilarch.
(14) I.e., in his presence, probably sitting at his right.
(15) Either a kind of recess or alcove in the wall or a marked-off enclosure with a rich matting for the Exilarch. [Aliter: A place was hollowed out in the ground over which the Exilarch's matting was spread for Mar ‘Ukba to sit on, in order that his seat may not be on a higher level than that of Samuel; cf. Maharsha and D.S. a.l. The text is not clear.]
(16) Mar ‘Ukba.
(17) Lit., ‘is it not yet clear to you?’
(18) So MS.M. Cur. edd. ‘his case’. V. Rashi.
(19) Which as a ‘separation ‘would take effect for seven days; v. R. Hisda's observation, supra 16a,
(20) II Sam. XXIII, 1.
(21) Ibid. XXII, 1.
(22) שגיון (from שגה) is here taken to mean an error’. It was an error on his part to celebrate in song the downfall of Saul.
(23) Ps. VII, 1.
(24) Aithiops in Greek means ‘fiery-looking’, ‘flashing’.
(25) Num. XII, 1.
(26) Jer. XXXVIII, 7ff.
(27) Sifre on Num. XII, 1 has it obviously more correctly: Baruch, son of Neriah (Jer. XXXVI, 4ff) his disciple.
(28) Amos IX, 7.
(29) Sifre. ibid. has: ‘By their commandments’.
(30) On this antiphrasis, cf. Juvenal, Sat. VIII, 32-33: ‘Somebody's dwarf we call an Atlas and an Aethiopian a swan’. And L. Friedlander's note ad loc. quotes Isid. Origg. I, 36, 24, ‘antiphrasis — hoc tropo et nani Atlantes — et vulgo Aethiopes appellantur argentei(?)’.
(31) II Sam. XXIII, 1.
(32) He showed the way of repentance for a heinous sin. Cf. p5, LI, 15 and A.Z., Sonc. ed. p. 19.
(33) II Sam. XXIII, 2-3. V. Hananel.
(34) The righteous have power to move God to change his adverse decree by prayer. Cf. Gen. XVIII, 20ff; Ex. XXXII, 7-14.
(35) II Sam. XXIII, 8.
(36) Playing on the meaning of the words: josheb _ sitting; basshebeth _ at the ‘sitting’ or ‘Session’ (of scholars).
(37) Cf. Mar ‘Ukba above.
(38) II Sam. XX, 26.
(39) Cf. ‘Er. 63a and Sit. 59a.
(40) II Sam. XXIII, 8. (From חכם), a session of the sages; but here Rab divides it into תהא כמוני ‘be (thou) like me’.
(41) Explained as Chief of the Trio, the three Patriarchs.
(42) From עדן = ‘gentle’; he was gentle, tender.
(43) ** _ wood; the wooden lance. Cf. I Sam. XVIl, 7. Cf. on this section, Seder Elijahu Rabbah Ed. M. Friedmann, III, pp. 15-16.
(44) Deut. XXXII, 30.
(45) I Kings XV, 5.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 17a

if a disciple ‘separates’ someone in [defence of] his personal dignity his ‘separation’ is an [effective] . For it is taught: ‘One who has been "separated" [as under a ban] by the Master is [deemed] "separated" from the disciple; but one who has been "separated" by the disciple is not [deemed] "separated" from the Master’.1 [That means], not ‘separated’ from the Master; but in regard to everybody else he is [‘separated’]. [Now let us see; ‘separated’] for what [offence]? If [it was imposed] for some offence towards Heaven, then there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord!2 Therefore [presumably] it is only so3 [where a disciple had pronounced it] in [defence of] his personal dignity. R. Joseph said that a Collegiate4 may enforce his own rights in a matter where he is perfectly certain [as to the law]. There was once a certain Collegiate whose reputation was objectionable. Said Rab Judah, How is one to act? To put the shammetha on him [we cannot], as the Rabbis have need of him [as an able teacher]. Not to put the shammetha on him [we cannot afford] as the name of Heaven is being profaned. Said he to Rabbah b. Bar Hana, Have you heard alight on that point? He replied: ‘Thus said R. Johanan: What means the text, For the priest's lips should keep knowledge and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts?5 [It means, that] if the Master is like unto a messenger of the Lord of Hosts, they should seek the law at his mouth; but if [he be] not , they should not seek the law at his mouth’. [Thereupon] Rab Judah pronounced the shammetha on him. In the end Rab Judah became indisposed. The Rabbis came to enquire about him and that man came along with them. When Rab Judah beheld him he laughed. Said the man to him: Not enough for him that he put upon that man [me] the shammetha, but he even laughs at me! Replied he [Rab Judah]: I was not laughing at you: but as I am departing to that World [beyond] I am glad to think that even towards such a personage as you I showed no indulgence. Rab Judah's soul came to rest.6 The man [then] came to the College [and] said, ‘Absolve me’. Said the Rabbis to him, There is no man here of the standing of Rab Judah who could absolve you; but go to R. Judah Nesi'ah7 that he may absolve you. He went and presented himself to him. Said he to R. Ammi: ‘Go forth and look into his case; if it be necessary to absolve him, absolve him’. R. Ammi looked into his case and had a mind to absolve him. Then R. Samuel b. Nahmani got up on his feet and said: ‘Why, even a ‘separation" imposed by one of the domestics in Rabbi's house was not lightly treated by the Rabbis for three years; how much more so one imposed by our colleague, Rab Judah!’ Said R. Zera, From the fact that this venerable scholar8 should just now have turned up at this College after not having come here for many years, you must take it that it is not desirable to absolve that man. He [R. Judah Nesi'ah]9 did not absolve him. He went away weeping. A wasp then came and stung him in the privy member and he died. They brought him into ‘The Grotto of the Pious’, but they admitted him not.10 They brought him into ‘The Grotto of the Judges’ and they received him.11 Why was he admitted there? — Because he had acted according to the dictum of R. Il'ai. For R. Il'ai says, If one sees that his [evil] yezer12 is gaining sway over him, let him go away where he is not known; let him put on sordid13 clothes, don a sordid wrap and do the sordid deed that his heart desires rather than profane the name of Heaven openly.14

What [was the incident] of the domestic in Rabbi's house? It was one of the maidservants in Rabbi's house that had noticed a man beating his grown-up son and said, Let that fellow be under a shammetha! because he sinned against the words [of Holy Writ]: Put not a stumbling-block before the blind.15 For it is taught: ‘And put not a stumbling-block before the blind’, that text applies16 to one who beats his grown-up son.17

Resh Lakish was once guarding an orchard [when] a fellow came and ate [some] figs; he shouted at him, but the fellow heeded him not, [whereupon] he said: ‘Let that fellow be under a shammetha!’ He replied: ‘Rather be that other fellow [Resh Lakish] under a shammetha! Though I have incurred a pecuniary liability towards you, did I incur a "separation"?’ [Resh Lakish] went to the College [and reported it]; they said to him: ‘His "separation" is a [justified]18 "separation", yours was not a [justified] "separation".’ And what is the remedy for it? — ‘Go to him that he [himself] may absolve you’. [But] I know him not! Said they to him [to Resh Lakish]: ‘Go to the Nasi that he absolve you;’ for it is taught: ‘[If] they "separate" him and he knows not who he was that "separated" him, let him go to the Nasi and let him absolve him from his "separation".’

Said R. Huna, At [one of the Synods at] Usha19 they made a regulation that if the Ab Beth din20 committed an offence he was not to be [formally] ‘separated’, but someone was to tell him, Save your dignity and remain at home.21 Should he again offend they ‘separate’ him, because [otherwise there would be] a profanation of the Name [of God]. And this is at variance with Resh Lakish; for Resh Lakish said: If a scholar-disciple has committed an offensive deed they do not ‘separate’ him publicly, because it is said: Therefore shalt thou stumble’ in the day and the prophet also shall stumble with thee in the night, [that is to say], Keep it dark,22 like night.

Mar Zutra, the Pious,23 if ever a Collegiate incurred the shammetha, pronounced the shammetha first on himself24 and then pronounced it on the culprit; as he entered his house he first absolved himself and then absolved the other.25 Said R. Giddal, as citing Rab: ‘A scholar-disciple may Pronounce "separation" on himself and absolve himself’. Said R. Papa, ‘May [good] befall me, for I have never put the shammetha on any Collegiate.’26 But then, when a Collegiate did incur the shammetha, how did he act? — As they do [in the West]; for in the West [Palestine] they appoint a tribunal for chastising a Collegiate but do not appoint a tribunal for pronouncing a shammetha.

What is [the etymology of the word] shammetha? — Said Rab, [It is], sham-mitha, ‘death is there’. Samuel said, [It is], shemamah yihye,27 ‘he shall be a desolation’; and its effects adhere to one like grease to the oven. And this is in disagreement with [what] Resh Lakish said. For Resh Lakish said that just as when it [the herem] enters, it penetrates the two hundred and forty eight joints [on one's body],28 so on its withdrawal it departs from the two hundred and forty eight joints. When it enters, as it is written; And the city shall be Herem, [a curse29 [i.e.,] Herem being in its letter value two hundred and forty eight,30 So at its withdrawal, as it is written: In wrath remember Rahem [to have compassion]31 the letter value being the same.

R. Joseph said, ‘Cast a shammetha on the dog's tail and it will do its work’. For there was a dog that used to eat the Rabbis’ shoes and they did not know what it was [that did it], so they pronounced a shammetha on the culprit, and the dog's tail caught fire and got burnt. There was a domineering fellow who bullied a certain Collegiate. The latter came before R. Joseph [for advice]. Said he to him: ‘Go and put the shammetha on him’. ‘I am afraid of him’, he replied. Said he to him, ‘Then go and take [out] a Writ32 against him.’ — ‘I am all the more afraid to do that!’ Said R. Joseph to him: ‘Take that Writ, put it into a jar,

(1) Supra p. 98.
(2) Prov. XXI, 30. That is to say, there should be no distinctions: the offender must be debarred from all and everybody.
(3) That the ‘separated’ is not debarred from his Master.
(4) צורבא מרבנן, the Babylonian appellation of an acknowledged scholar, a member of the Academy. The term has not been satisfactorily explained; but it is obviously from an Aramaic form, צרב = Hebrew צרף to be joined, adhere to, the equivalent of the Palestinian term חבר = associate, colleague, Collegiate.
(5) Mal. II, 7.
(6) In 299 C.E. Succeeded after a short interregnum by Rabbah b. Nahmani. V. Sherira's Epistle, ed. B. M. Lewin, p. 86.
(7) R. Judah II, grandson of Rabbi Judah l and son of Rabban Gamaliel III. Nesi'ah is the Aramaic form of Nasi ‘the Prince’; it is conveniently used to indicate the second Judah (and sometimes the third).
(8) R. Samuel b. Nahmani.
(9) Or his Beth din, among whom were prominent R. Ammi and R. Zera.
(10) It is forbidden to bury a bad man next to a good man. V. Sanh. 47a.
(11) He was such himself and had repented.
(12) I.e., the evil (formative) imagining, prompting, ‘urge’. V. Gen. VI, 5; VIII, 21; Deut. XXXI, 21. There is, however, a ‘steady’ (formative) urge for good. V. Isa. XXVI, 3 and P.B. p. 7.
(13) Lit., ‘black clothes’. He had probably in mind the Roman custom for a discredited official to be sordidatus. For an earlier reference v. Mid. V, 4; 37b. Cf however Hag. 16a.
(14) V. kid., Sonc. ed. p. 199 notes.
(15) Lev. XIX, 14.
(16) Lit., ‘speaks of’.
(17) And this caused him to rebel.
(18) An effective ban, because deserved. J.M.K. III, 1 gives another version of this incident.
(19) V. e.g., Keth. 49b-5o. J.M.K. III, 1.
(20) V. Glos.
(21) II Kings XIV, 10.
(22) Do it as quietly as possible for his sake and that of the community.
(23) Seemingly one of the Exilarchs or of their family. Cf. Sanh. 7b.
(24) So hateful was it to him.
(25) To be free himself before he freed another. Cf. Tosaf. s.v. משמית

(26) Some take it as an asseveration, ‘May evil befall me if I ever did that’. Cf. II Sam. III, 35.
(27) Cf. fer. XLII, 18; Han. and Aruch have sham tehi, i.e., ‘be it there’; let it stay there as a curse, citing Zech. V, 3-4.
(28) Cf. Mak. 23b.
(29) Josh. VI, 17, ‘even it and all that; is therein’.
(30) ה (hey) =8; ר (resh) = 200; ם (mem) = 40.
(31) Hab. III, 2.
(32) Lit., the Opening’, preliminary action after a verbal shammetha. It is to write out the shammetha against him.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 17b

take it to a graveyard and hoot into it a thousand shipur [horn-blasts] on forty days’. He went and did so. The jar burst and the domineering bully died.

What is the [significance of using a] shipur’? — That he'll pay, the penalty.1 What signifies the tabra2 [tooting]? — Said R. Isaac son of R. Judah: [It suggests] ‘the tumbling of high houses’: for it is taught: Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel said that wherever the Sages set their eye against one, [the result was] either death or poverty.3

AND THE NAZIRITE OR LEPER, EMERGING FROM HIS [STATE OF] IMPURITY TO [A STATE OF] PURITY. . . R. Jeremiah enquired of R. Zera whether this [concession]4 was allowed [only] when they had not an [earlier] opportunity.4 or, maybe, even if they had an [earlier] opportunity? — He replied, We learned it [in a Baraitha]:5 All those who were mentioned [in the Mishnah]6 as being allowed to crop their hair during the festival [week, are allowed] where they had no [earlier] opportunity, but if they had an [earlier] opportunity [and did not use it] are forbidden.7 The Nazirite and the leper [however] are allowed,7 even if they had an opportunity [and did not use it]; the reason being that they should not delay bringing their [prescribed] offerings8 [on their release from their respective restrictions].

A Tanna taught: A priest and a mourner also9 are allowed to crop themselves.7 Now, as to this mourner, under what conditions [may he do so]? Shall I assume that the eighth day of his [mourning] fell on the day before the festival? Then he ought to have trimmed himself then, on the day before10 the festival! Again, if the eighth day of his [mourning] came on a Sabbath which was the day before the festival; [if so] then he should have trimmed his hair on the Friday. as R. Hisda stated, citing Rabina b. Shila, that ‘the rule in practice’ followed Abba Saul's view and that the Sages concurred with Abba Saul,11 [namely] that where the eighth day of his [mourning’] came on a Sabbath which was the day before a festival, [in such a case] he was allowed to trim himself on the Friday!12 — No, this [statement in the Baraitha] is required for the case where the seventh day of his [mourning] came on a Sabbath which was also the day before the festival. [In that case] the external Tanna takes the view of Abba Saul who says that part of a day may be deemed as an entire day; and [accordingly] the seventh day of his [mourning] is counted both with the preceding and with the following period13 and as that happens to be a Sabbath day,14 the mourner was prevented [from trimming himself on the festival eve].15 [Whereas], our Tanna16 takes the view of the Sages who say that part of a day is not deemed as an entire day, and [accordingly] the mourner has not yet completed the seven days of his mourning [before the festival].17

Now as to the priest,18 under what conditions [may he]? Shall I assume that [the turn of] his Ward19 terminated on the day before the festival?20 He should have trimmed himself then on the day before the festival! No, it is necessary to assume that [the turn of] his Ward terminated on the festival [day].21 [In that case], our Tanna16 then holds in view of what we learned: At three periods of the year, all the Wards have an equal right to [assist in placing] the ‘ordained’ parts22 of the festival offerings [on the altar] and sharing the ‘shewbread’23 — that we consider him as one whose Ward had virtually not yet completed [its turn].24 Whereas the external Tanna holds that although [in a way] he belongs to the other Wards [also], his own Ward had nevertheless [actually] completed [its turn, and therefore he may trim himself].25 Our Rabbis taught: All those who were mentioned [in the Mishnah] as being allowed to crop their hair during the festival [week] are likewise allowed to crop their hair during the days of their mourning. But surely it is taught that they are forbidden? — Said R. Hisda as citing R. Shela: When it is taught here that they ‘are allowed [to crop their hair during the days of their mourning]’, it refers only to persons who suffered one bereavement immediately after another. If it refers only [as you say] to persons who suffered one bereavement immediately after another, what is the point in wording it ‘all those who were mentioned [in the Mishnah]’ whereas [under such unfortunate circumstances] it is even applicable to anybody, as it is taught: ‘If a person suffered one bereavement immediately after another and his hair has become oppressively [long], he may ease it with a razor and wash his raiment with water’? — But that has already been explained: R. Hisda said [it means], ease it with a razor but not with scissors: wash his raiment with water but not natron or lye.26 [Furthermore] said R. Hisda: This [Baraitha] indicates that [otherwise] a mourner is barred from washing [his clothes].

Our Rabbis taught: ‘Just as it was said that cropping the hair during the festival [week] is not allowed, so is paring the nails during the festival [week] not allowed. This is R. Judah's opinion; but R. Jose allows it. And just as it was said that a mourner is not allowed to crop his hair within [the period of] his mourning, so is paring the nails not allowed to him within [the period of] his mourning. This is R. Judah's opinion; but R. Jose allows it

‘Ulla stated that the halachah follows the view of R. Judah in the case of a mourner, and that of R. Jose in regard to the festival [week]. Samuel said

(1) She-nifra'im; lit., ‘they will exact punishment’.
(2) Lit., ‘broken’. The short broken toots which were sounded at a shammetha.
(3) Cf. Hag. 5b (top).
(4) To trim themselves during the festival week.
(5) V. supra 14a-b and cf. Tosef. M.K. II.
(6) V. supra 13b-14a.
(7) To trim themselves during the festival week.
(8) The Nazirite, Num. VI, 10ff; the leper, Lev. XIV, 9ff.
(9) These are not mentioned in the Mishnah list.
(10) As the seven days of mourning are over, the festival cancels the rest, down to 30 days (in all).
(11) The issues are discussed at length, infra 19b.
(12) Why then should he be allowed to crop himself during the festival week.
(13) Lit., ‘with this way and that way’.
(14) On which he may not trim himself.
(15) I.e., it is not on account of his negligence, but owing to the force of circumstances, and therefore he may have his hair cut in the festival week.
(16) Of the Mishnah who does not include the priest or mourner in his list.
(17) And consequently the rest of the period is not canceled and therefore he id not among those who are allowed to trim in the festival week.
(18) Mentioned above with the mourner by the external Tanna (in the Baraitha) as being allowed to trim in the festival week.
(19) Mishmar, v. Glos.
(20) Priests were not allowed to trim themselves or wash their garments while their Ward was on duty in the Temple, save on the Friday in honour of the Sabbath. Cf. supra 14a.
(21) When he could not trim himself.
(22) V. e.g., Lev. 1, 5-9; 11-13; II, 1-3ff; VII, 1-10 etc.
(23) Ibid. XXIV, 5-9.
(24) Therefore he is not in the list of the Mishnah among those who may.
(25) Cf. n. 1.
(26) [In the case of those mentioned in the Mishnah, where they in addition suffered one bereavement after another, the said restrictions do not apply].

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 18a

that the Halachah follows the opinion of R. Jose [both] in regard to the festival [week] and to mourning. For Samuel said that in [questions appertaining to] mourning, the halachah follows the authority of the more lenient view.

Phineas, Mar Samuel's brother, suffered a bereavement1 and Samuel called on him to ask him the cause of it.2 Noticing that his nails were long, he asked him why he had not cut them. He replied: Had this happened to you, would you have been so regardless of it [as to cut them]? This was [inauspicious], ‘like an error which proceedeth from a ruler;3 and Samuel [later] suffered a bereavement himself. When his brother [Phineas] called on him to ask the cause of it, Samuel took his cut nails and cast them down in front of his brother, saying, ‘Do you not hold that a covenant has been made with the lips?’4 For R. Johanan said: Whence is derived the notion that the lips are subject to a covenant? From what is said: And Abraham said unto his young men: ‘Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and [we will] come back to you’;5 and the words came true6 so that they both came back.

Some argued from the above [incident] that [only] the fingernails may [be cut],7 but not the toe-nails. But R. ‘Anan b. Tahlifa said, ‘I myself had it explained to me by Samuel, that there was no distinction made between the finger-nails and the toe-nails’. R. Hiyya b. Ashi citing Rab said: But with a nail-cutter it is forbidden. Said R. Shaman b. Abba: ‘I was once standing before R. Johanan8 at the College during the festival week when R. Johanan bit off his nails and threw them away. Learn from this [incident] three points: Learn that it is allowed to take off nails during the festival week; that [doing it with the teeth] was not considered objectionable, and that [nails] may be thrown away’. But this [deduction] is not [correct]? as surely it is taught. ‘Three things were said in reference to nails: One who buries them is righteous;9 one who burns them is pious10 and one who throws them away is a villain’! What is the reason? Lest a pregnant woman should step over them and miscarry; [but then], women do not ‘often come to the College. And should you say that sometimes the nails are gathered and thrown away outside, once they have been shifted their spell has been lifted.11

Rab Judah. as citing Rab, said: ‘A pair [of scholars] came from Hammathan12 before Rabbi . . .’, and Mar Zutra taught [the same as a Baraitha]. ‘A pair [of scholars] came from Hammathan before Rabbi, and asked him about [paring] the nails [during mourning]; and he permitted it to them. And if they had asked him about [trimming] the upper lip. he would13 have permitted it to them likewise’. And Samuel stated that they did ask him also about the upper lip and that he permitted them.

Abitol the hair-dresser14 said in the name of Rab that [trimming the] upper lip means from corner15 to corner; [and of the drooping ends16 too, all that causes inconvenience]. Said R. Ammi, And as regards the upper lip [it also means only] whatever part causes inconvenience. Said R. Nahman b. Isaac, And to me [all of it]17 is like the [end of the] upper lip causing inconvenience.

And Abitol the hair-dresser, citing Rab, said [also this]: Pharaoh18 the contemporary of Moses, was [a puny fellow] a cubit [in height] with a beard a cubit long and his shock of hair19 a cubit and a span, justifying what is said: And He setteth up over it [the kingdom of men] the lowest of men.20 And [furthermore] said Abitol the hair-dresser, as citing Rab, Pharaoh, the contemporary of Moses, was a Magus,21 because it is said: [Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning,] lo he goeth out unto the water.22

AND THESE [MAY] WASH [THEIR CLOTHES] DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK], ONE ARRIVING FROM ABROAD.23 R. Assi, as citing R. Johanan said that one who has but one tunic is allowed to wash it during the festival week. Thereupon R. Jeremiah put an objection to him: ‘AND THESE [MAY] WASH [THEIR CLOTHES] DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK]. ONE ARRIVING FROM ABROAD etc.’ [which enumeration implies that only] those here mentioned may [wash] but one who has but one tunic24 [may] not? — Said R. Jacob to R. Jeremiah [b. Tahlifa],25 I will explain that to you: Our Mishnah [permits to wash] even if he has two garments if they be soiled.26 R. Isaac son of R. Jacob b. Giyora sent [a message] in the name of R. Johanan that garments made of flax27 one may wash during the festival week. Raba raised an objection: HAND-TOWELS, BARBERS’-WRAPS AND BATHTOWELS [MAY BE WASHED].

(1) Lit., ‘something befell him’.
(2) Rashi: to console him.
(3) Eccl. X, 5.
(4) I.e., the way in which a thing is expressed may contain a prognostication for the future.
(5) Gen. XXII, 5.
(6) Lit., ‘the thing was furthered’.
(7) Because they are visible.
(8) Waiting on him.
(9) By justly removing a stumbling block, a believed cause for injury,
(10) By going to greater trouble in disposing of the injurious matter effectively, beyond recovery. Cf. B. K. 30a; 50b.
(11) I.e., they are quite harmless once the nails have been shifted from their first place.
(12) Ancient Emmaus, a famous spa about a mile from Tiberias. Hanimatha(n) means ‘Hot Springs’.
(13) Judging by his attitude.
(14) Hardly ‘scribe’, as his observation shows. He is otherwise unknown; he may have consulted Rab professionally.
(15) Of the mouth.
(16) So Rabad and SBH (p. 92). Cf. Asheri (section 20) and Ritba.
(17) So D.S.
(18) Under Pharoah, Rab alluded veiledly to the new Persian rulers as may be gathered from the following description of the Parthians (or Persians). Two Palestinian Rabbis had visited Nehardea and had there an awkward experience. R. Jose b. Kippar, on his return, explained his timidity, thus: ‘Those people are a cubit (in height) with a cap a cubit high, speaking as ventriloquists, bearing formidable names (such as) Arda(shir) and Arta (xerxes) and having a shock of hair on their head. If they say, "Fetter" they put on fetters; if they say "Kill" they kill . . . and they were related to royalty’, Git. 14b. ‘Surena (a Parthian grandee) had his face painted and his hair parted after the fashion of the Medes, whereas the Parthians (whom he led against Crassus 53 B.C.E.) made a more terrible appearance with their shaggy hair gathered in a mass upon their forehead after the Scythian manner’. Plutarch's Lives, Crassus (Everyman's Library, Vol. II, pp. 292-293). ‘But to describe their persons and customs (says Ammianus Marcellus) they are nearly all slight in figure, swarthy... fierce-looking with goat-like eyes, eyebrows arched in semi-circle and joined, handsome beards and long hair’. Amm. Marcell. Chapter XXIII, VI, 75 (Bohn's ed. pp. 343ff expedition of Julian in 363 C.E.).
(19) פרמשתקו Adopting J. Perles’ suggested etymology cited in (Ar. Compl. s.v. 430b) as more likely correct, ** meaning here not the side whiskers but the other hair, the shock of hair on top of the head.
(20) Dan. IV, 14, in reference to Nebuchadnezzar who turned beast, with hair grown like eagles’ feathers (v. 30). Cf. Kid. 72a (and parallel passage, Meg. 11a) where Persians are compared to a restless, corpulent, shaggy bear, with a corresponding reference to the Book of Daniel.
(21) I.e., a priest of the Zoroastrian religion, who adored Ahura-Mazda (Ormuzd) ‘the Lord of Light’ who would vanquish Angra-Mainyus, (Ahriman) ‘the Lord of the Demons, Darkness and Evil’.
(22) Ex. VII, 15. It is the reference to the light of morning which is the emphatic part of this quotation. Rab undoubtedly referred to the then national revival of Zoroastrianism on the defeat of Artaban IV and the overthrow of the Parthian, Arsacid dynasty by Ardashir I — (Artaxerxes) and the establishment of the Sassanid dynasty in 226 C.E. Artaban (who is said to have been friendly disposed towards Rab) was captured, held a prisoner and finally put to death in 233. i.e., at the time when Alexander Severus repelled the Persian attacks on the Roman outposts in Northern Mesopotamia. Ardashir ‘was an ardent devotee of the Zoroastrian doctrine and closely connected with the Priesthood and in his royal style assumed the designation Mazdayasman’ (i.e., devotee of Ahura-Mazda) and depicted himself on rock-reliefs as King and Ormuzd both on horseback, i.e., King and god as Pharaoh did of old. Shapur I, his son and successor, was more liberal and friendly to Samuel. Hence the discussion between Rab and Samuel (Shab. 75a) as to what is a magus, a sorcerer (a muttering quack-priest) or a blasphemer, reviler of God? On the historical facts cf. Enc. Brit. II (1911) Art. Peria, VIII, p. 219a-b.
(23) Lit., ‘from a maritime province’.
(24) Or shirt.
(25) So MS.M.
(26) Bit where he has only one tunic he may in all circumstances wash it.
(27) Linen, in contrast to woollens that require more skill and exertion in cleaning.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 18b

This [detailed enumeration] implies that these only [one may wash], but not [all sorts of] garments made of flax? — Said Abaye to him, [Not necessarily]; Our Mishnah included even those other kinds [of material].1 Said Bar Hedya: I have myself seen at the lake of Tiberias [people] bringing along basins full of flax garments [and washing them] during the festival week. Abaye [however] strongly contested this [testimony]. Who can vouch to us that they did it with the approval of the Sages? Possibly they did so without the approval of the Sages!


GEMARA. [INSTRUMENTS OF BETROTHAL]. Said Samuel, ‘One is allowed to betroth a woman during the festival week, [the reason being] lest another [rival suitor] anticipate him’. Might one suggest that [the wording here] lends support to Samuel's view: AND THE FOLLOWING MAY BE INDITED DURING THE FESTIVAL [WEEK]: INSTRUMENTS OF BETROTHAL. What is [meant by this]? Is it not actually inditing the formula of Kiddushin?13 — No, [it means, drawing up] the [preliminary] terms, and as R. Giddal, citing Rab, stated: ‘How much do you give to your son?’ ‘So much and so much.’ ‘How much do you give to your daughter?’ ‘So much and so much’. [If] they then stood up and pronounced the ‘dedication’ [espousal formula] they have acquired their legal rights [to the offers]; these are [among] the matters that are [legally] acquired by word of mouth.14 Might one suggest [then] the following as lending support to him [to Samuel]? ‘One may take a wife during the festival [week]. whether a virgin or a widow, but not effect a levirate marriage;15 as it is a rejoicing for him [the groom]’,16 [which implies] that betrothing is allowed. — Not [quite so]. He stated [the rule in the form] ‘Not merely [this is not allowed but even that]: Not merely [it is forbidden] to betroth,17 by which no scriptural obligation is carried out; but even to take [a wife in wedlock] whereby a scriptural obligation is fulfilled,18 he is forbidden. Come and hear [a support for this]: For it was learnt in the School of Samuel:19 [Grooms] may betroth, but not bring [a bride] home: and they may not make a feast of betrothal nor effect a levirate marriage, as this is a rejoicing for him [the groom]’. Infer this.20

But [yet], could Samuel have said ‘Lest another [rival suitor] anticipate him’? Surely Rab Judah, as citing Samuel, said: [‘Forty days before the embryo is formed21 an echo issues22 forth [on high] announcing, "The daughter of So-and-so is [to be a wife] to Soand-so".’ [Similarly]. ‘Such and such a field23 is [to belong] to Soand-so’. — No; what it means is, ‘Lest another [rival suitor] anticipate him’ by means of prayer, as is illustrated by what occurred to Raba, who overheard a certain fellow praying for grace saying: ‘May that girl be destined to be mine!’ Said Raba to the man: ‘Pray not for grace thus; if she be meet for you, you will not lose her, and if not , you have challenged Providence’.24 Later he overheard him praying that either he should die before her or she before him. Said Raba to him: ‘[Praying Jack],25 did I not tell you not to pray for grace in this matter?’ Thus said Rab in the name of R. Reuben b. Estrobile, from the Torah,26 from the Prophets and from the Hagiographa it may be shown that a woman is [destined to] a man by God. From the Torah: Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord.27 From the Prophets: But his [Samson's] father and mother knew not that it was of the Lord.28 And from the Hagiographa: House and riches are the inheritance of fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.29

And Rab said [also this] in the name of R. Reuben b. Estrobile: ‘A person does not incur suspicion unless he has done the thing [suspected]; and if he has not done it wholly he has done it partly; and if he has not done it partly, he has a mind to do it; and if he has not had a mind to do it, he has seen others doing it and enjoyed [the sight of it]’. [As against this], R. Jacob [of Nehar Pekod]30 raised an objection [from the following text]: ‘And the children of Israel did impute things that were not right unto the Lord their God.31 There they did it [purposely] to provoke [God].

Come [then] and hear [this statement]: And [Moses heard and fell on his face].32 What tidings had he heard? — Said R. Samuel b. Nahmani, as reporting R. Jonathan: [He heard that] they suspected him of [adultery with] a married woman, as it is said: And they were jealous33 of Moses in the camp and of Aaron the holy one of the Lord.34 And, said R. Samuel b. Isaac, this indicates that everyone was jealous of his wife because of Moses. — There [again] it was done out of hatred.35

[Then] come and hear [this statement]: Said R. Jose, May my share be with him whom they suspect of something of which he is innocent. Nay further, R. Papa said, They suspected me myself of something of which I was innocent! — It is not difficult [to explain]. One [speaks of a] rumor that dies away, the other of a rumor that persists. And how long would a persistent rumor be? — Said Abaye. ‘Nanna’ told me, Local gossip lasts a day and a half; and that holds good only if it did not cease in the meantime, but if it had ceased in the meantime, we take no notice of it. If, however, it does cease in the meantime, the rule is [to disregard it] only where it was not [stopped] out of fear, but if it was stopped out of fear, it is not [to be disregarded]; again, the rule is [to disregard it] only where it does not break out again, but where it breaks out again [we do] not [disregard it]; also, the rule is [to disregard it] when he [the maligned] person has no enemies, but if he has enemies, [we say] it is his enemies who have spread the [adverse] rumor.


(1) [E.g., woollen which requires more skill in cleaning, yet in the case of hand-towels, washing is permitted. But as to those made of linen, all sorts of garments may be washed].
(2) Either (a) the formula of espousal: ‘Behold thou art dedicated unto me according to the law of Moses and Israel’ (Cf. Kid. 5b and 6a), to be handed by the suitor to his bride (thereby to secure her for himself forthwith in case of another rival suitor) as a ‘marriage’ may not be celebrated during the festival week (Rashi); or, (b) the terms of the marriage settlement (instrumenta dotalia). V. Gemara and SHB ad loc. p. 95; also Lewin, Otz. Hag. Mashk No. 52.
(3) Cf.. Deut. XXIV, 1-4.
(4) Or part-cancellation of a debt. Cf. Keth. 89a ff and B.M. 18a, 19a-b.
(5) During his lifetime. B.M. 19a. palest. Mishnah reads: ‘and bequests’.
(6) A formal written declaration made by a creditor before the Judges assigning to the Court the collection of an outstanding debt, thus preventing its cancellation by the incidence of the Sabbatical year. Cf. Deut. XV, 2, and Sheb. X, 4; Git. 36a. The Prorbol is said to have been instituted by Hillel.
(7) Valuation of a debtor's property by order of Court prior to a public auction to meet the payment of his debt. Cf. B.M. 20a and ‘Arach. 21b.
(8) E.g., to keep a step-daughter for a certain period. V. Keth. 101b.
(9) The ceremony on the refusal of the levirate marriage by the brother of a man who died absolutely childless. V. Deut. XXV, 5-10. For the text see J.M.K. ad loc. and Yeb. 3 9b.
(10) By a girl minor who before attaining puberty had been given in marriage (after her father's death) by her mother or brothers. Her repudiation before a tribunal of three judges was sufficient to nullify the marriage. Cf. Yeb. 107b ff.
(11) ‘Compromissium’, a covenant to abide by the decision of arbitrators, according to J.M.K. III, 3 or copies of the pleadings and award, according to B.M. 20a.
(12) ראשות רשות government ‘letters of credentials’, ‘diplomas’; or רשות voluntary, private, friendly letters, J.M.K., ibid; also Lewin Otz. Hag. IV, Mashk. Nos. 53-55.
(13) The dedication formula, v. n. 6 on Mishnah.
(14) Without formal, symbolical ‘delivery’. Cf. Keth. 102a and b.
(15) Deut. XXV, 5-6. V. p. 117, n. 5.
(16) V. supra 8b.
(17) During the festival week.
(18) The duty of procreation. Gen. I, 27-28; II, 18, 22-24.
(19) [Han.: Menasseh.]
(20) I.e., this is conclusive.
(21) V. D.S. note ad loc and cf. Sot. 2a and Sanh. 22a (Sonc. ed. p. 124).
(22) Cur. edd. have here ‘daily’.
(23) Or house, family, D.S.
(24) You will (in the end) challenge Providence for not having granted your sincere prayer.
(25) חלאי SBH. (Cf. Ex. XXXII, 11).
(26) The Pentateuch.
(27) Gen. XXIV, 50.
(28) Judg. XIV,4.
(29) Prov. XIX, 14.
(30) So MS.M. and parallels.
(31) II Kings, XVII, 9. Surely, God has not been guilty of improper intentions. Yet ill is imputed to Him.
(32) Num. XVI, 4. According to MS.M. Cf. Sanh. 110a.
(33) Connecting this expression with that of Num. V, 14.
(34) Ps. CVI, 16.
(35) It was not suspicion, but sheer spite.
(36) The borrower or the scribe. V. J.M.K. 82a.
(37) Cf. Deut. VI, 8; XI, 18 and supra.
(38) Deut. VI, 9; XI, 20.
(39) According to some, a copy written by Ezra, according to others, the scroll kept in the ‘Court’ of the Temple.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 19a


GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: A person [may] write [the scriptural sections for] phylacteries or mezuzoth for his own use [and spin on his thigh the blue threads for his own fringe],2 and for others [he may do so] as a favour:3 this is R. Meir s view; R. Judah says, He may artfully dispose of his own and [then] write fresh ones for his own use. R. Jose says, He may write and sell [them] in his usual way enough for his [personal] requirements’,4 Rab gave a decision to R. Hananel and some say, Rabbah b. Bar-Hanah to R. Hananel5 — that the halachah is that one [may] write and them in his way to the extent of his requirements.

AND [MAY] SPIN ON His THIGH BLUE-WOOL FOR HIS FRINGE. Our Rabbis taught: A person [may] spin on his thigh the blue [thread] for his fringe, but [may] not do so with a stone [as a spindle-whorl]: that is R. Eliezer's view; but the Sages say [he may] even with a stone. R. Judah says in his [R. Eliezer's] name: [He may] with a stone, but not with a spindle; but the Sages say, [He may] either with stone or with spindle. Said R. Judah as citing Samuel, and similarly R. Hiyya b. Abba said as citing R. Johanan: The halachah is that [one may spin the blue-wool for his fringe] whether with a stone [as whorl] or with a spindle;6 and it is also the halachah that one [may] write in his usual way and sell sufficient for his requirements.7


GEMARA. [THE RESTRICTIONS... FALL AWAY]. Said Rab, [this means only] ‘the restrictions’16 fall away, but the days [of mourning] do not fall away17 and so said also R. Huna:18 The ‘restrictions fall away but the ‘days’ do not fall away; and R. Shesheth19 said that even the days also fall away.20 What is the meaning of, ‘But the days [of mourning] do not fall away’? [It means] that if he had not cropped his hair on the day before the festival he is forbidden to crop himself after the festival

(1) Num. XV, 38ff.
(2) This bracketed part is omitted in many texts. Cf. D.S.
(3) Without payment for his work.
(4) פרנסה includes ‘food, raiment and home’ for himself, wife and children or his father's widow. Cf. Shab. 118a and Keth. 69a.
(5) V. J.M.K. III, 4.
(6) It being for the performance of a Biblical ordinance which gives him joy.
(7) To help him joyously to keep the festival.
(8) V. infra 20a.
(9) גזרה means generally a restrictive measure. (Cf. Be. 4b, 8b, 36b). Here it refers to the abstention, during the seven days of mourning, from work and bodily comforts — bathing, anointing, footwear and fresh clean clothes, i.e., the maintenance of a neglected disconsolate appearance in honour of the deceased. The public, religious, festive rejoicing suspends, or according to some, cancels the formal observance of sorrow.
(10) I.e., the remaining period of formal mourning down to thirty days lapses on his having duly observed the first seven days plus one day of the remaining period before the festival.
(11) I.e., it neither counts as a blank day, nor does it cancel the rest. The re maining days of mourning continue after the Sabbath.
(12) Cancel the remaining days of mourning.
(13) If the interment took place during the festival. But v. Rashi.
(14) The rabbinic term for the ‘Feast of Weeks’ (Deut. XVI, 10). or the Day of Bikkurim, First Fruits (of wheat; Lev. XXIII, 17). Both terms occur in Num. XXVIII, 26. V. Targums on the last, and Mid. Lekah Tob, ad loc. p. 272; cf. also infra 24b.
(15) It enters into count and does not interrupt.
(16) I.e., only the outer, formal observances of mourning but not the obligation.
(17) I.e., the period of mourning of seven or (down to) thirty days (as the case may be, according to the wording of the Mishnah) is not canceled but only deferred pending the festive time.
(18) Rab's disciple and his successor at the Academy of Sura.
(19) Var. lec., Samuel; v. D.S. a.l.
(20) I.e., they are not to be compensated after the festival to the number of the days during which the mourning formalities were suspended.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 19b

and that is [exactly] what is taught [in a Baraitha]: If one buries his dead three days before a festival his restrictions of the seven fall away;1 if eight days before a festival his restrictions of the thirty fall away;1 and he crops [his hair] on the day before the festival.2 If he had not cropped himself on the day before the festival, he is forbidden to crop himself after the festival.3 Abba Saul says, He is permitted to crop himself after the festival; for just as the ‘[observed] obligation4 of three’ [days] quashes the restriction of the seven’5 so does the ‘[observed] obligation of seven’ quash the ‘restrictions of thirty’.6 [You Say, ‘The observed obligation of] seven’? But we learned [in our Mishnah] ‘eight’ [days before the festival]! — Abba Saul maintains the view that part of a day is [reckoned] as an entire day and [here] the seventh day [of mourning] enters into the count both this way and that.7 R. Hisda, as citing Rabina son of Shela, said the halachah follows the opinion of Abba Saul;8 and the Sages concur with Abba Saul that when his eighth day comes on a Sabbath which is the day before a festival he is permitted to crop himself [even] in the Friday.9

Whose opinion is followed in the statement in which R. Amram, citing Rab, said: ‘[As to] the mourner, as soon as the comforters have risen to depart from his house, he is permitted to bathe’? Whose view [is it]? — It is Abba Saul's [view]. Said Abaye, The halachah follows Abba Saul's view in regard to the seventh day [of mourning] and the Sages concur with Abba Saul in regard to the thirtieth day [of mourning] that we say, part of the day is regarded as the whole day. Raba said, The halachah follows Abba Saul's view in regard to the thirtieth day, but in regard to the seventh day the halachah does not follow the view of Abba Saul. And the Nehardeans10 say the halachah follows Abba Sauls view in both instances, because Samuel stated that in matters appertaining to mourning the halachah is to follow the view of the more lenient authority.

Whence [in Scripture] do we derive the term of thirty days [of mourning]? — It is obtained by an analogy11 between two texts which have in common the term pera’ used [in connection] with mourning12 and again used [in connection] with the Nazirite,13 [namely]: Here [in the law about mourning] it is written, Let not the hair of your heads grow long [tifra'u];12 an there [in the law of the Nazirite] it is written: He shall let the locks of the hair of his head [pera’] grow long.13 Just as the period there [for the Nazirite] is thirty days, so also here [for the mourner] it is thirty days. And whence do we derive it there? — Said R. Mattena: An unspecified Nazirite-vow is [binding] for thirty days. What is the reason? The text there reads: He shall be [Yihyeh] holy;14 the [consonant] letter value of Yihyeh being [ten + five + ten + five] thirty.

Said R. Huna the son of R. Joshua,15 [Authorities] all accept the view that when the third day [of mourning] occurs on the day before the festival the mourner is forbidden to wash [his whole body]16 till the evening.17 Said R. Nehemiah the son of R. Joshua: I once found R. Pape and R. Papa sitting together and stating that the halachah is in accordance with the statement of R. Huna the son of Joshua. Some report it thus: R. Nehemiah the son of R. Joseph said, I once found R. Pape, R. Papa and R. Huna the son of R. Joshua sitting together and stating that all are agreed that when the third day occurs on the day before a festival, the mourner is forbidden to bathe till the evening.

Abaye enquired of Rabbah: What if one buried his dead during the festival? Does the festival enter into his counting of the thirty days, or does the festival not enter into his counting of the thirty days?18 I am not asking about [counting the festival as part of] the seven days, because the ‘due observance of seven [days of mourning] does not obtain during the festival;19 but what I do ask is about the period of thirty days, because the ‘due observance of thirty days does [partly] obtain during the festival;20 what [is your view]? — He [Rabbah] replied, The [days of the] festival do not enter into the counting.

[Thereupon] he put to him an objection from [the following]: If one buried his dead two days before the festival, he counts five [supplementary] days after the festival,21 and his work is done [for him] by others; his men-servants and maid-servants do [their domestic] work quietly indoors, privily; and the public do not [need to] condole formally22 with him

(1) As then his obligation to the dead is already sufficiently fulfilled.
(2) In honour of the festival, although he is still within the thirty days.
(3) I.e., the remaining period of mourning up to thirty is resumed: it having been only suspended but not canceled.
(4) מצוה means a positive order and denotes rather the positive aspect, the active fulfillment of the obligation to the departed, in contrast to the גזירה, the restrictive aspect of mourning.
(5) Not to be resumed again.
(6) I.e., again. if he had not cropped himself before the festival he is permitted to do so immediately after the festival.
(7) I.e., that after part has served for the seventh day, the remainder can count as part of the eighth day with its easier regimen.
(8) [With reference to his latter ruling, cf. D.S. note7 and Han].
(9) Though it is still the seventh.
(10) Represented by R. Han., Sanh. 17b. Also by R. Nahman b. Isaac (according to another source). V. A. Hyman, Toledoth II, p. 919.
(11) This question interrupts the discussion. The method of equalling two texts is gezerah shawah, v. Glos.
(12) V. Lev. X, 6; Aaron and his sons were thus commanded at the death of Nadab and Abihu, not to allow their hair to go loose, i.e., not to grow freely or long.
(13) Num. VI, 5. Cf. supra 15a.
(14) Num. VI, 5: י (yod) = 10, ה(hey) = 5 (twice).
(15) The discussion on the former theme is resumed here.
(16) I.e., to bathe in warm water which affords pleasure.
(17) Even Abba Saul will in this case not regard a part of the day as the whole.
(18) Formal mourning alter burial falls into three periods: (i) three days of weeping and (ii) up to the seventh day
(part-inclusive) for lamenting with abstention from work and attention to the person; then (iii) down to the thirtieth day
(part-inclusive) in slightly mitigated formal mourning.
(19) Therefore it is certain that the mourner begins his observance of the seven after the festival; and as these had not begun, there was as yet no part to be taker, into account.
(20) For on it too, like during the thirty days, washing clothes and cropping hair are forbidden.
(21) To make up the requisite seven days of mourning.
(22) Lit., ‘busy themselves’.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 20a

as they have already done that Service towards him during the festival. As a general principle on this matter [it may be stated]: ‘Whatever appertains to the mourner [himself],1 that the festival interrupts,2 but whatever appertains to the [obligations of] the public,3 that the festival does not interrupt’. If he buried his dead three days towards the conclusion of the festival,4 he counts seven days [of mourning] after the festival. During the first four days [alter the festival] the public engage [in condoling] with him, but in the last three days the public do not [need to] condole with him as they have already done [this service] towards him during the [three days within the] festival; and the festival enters into the counting. Now, does not [this last sentence] refer to the latter part [of the statement]?5 — No, [said Rabbah] it refers to the former part [of the statement].6 Thereupon he put an objection to him [from the continuation of the Baraitha]: The festival enters into the counting of thirty days: how, for instance? If one buried his dead at the beginning of the festival he counts seven days [of mourning] after the festival and his work is done by others; his men-servants and maid-servants do work quietly indoors, and the public do not [need to] engage [in condoling] with him, as they have already done that service towards him during the festival; and the festival enters in the counting!7 — That Is a confutation [of Rabbah].

When Rabin came [from Palestine] he reported R. Johanan to have said, Even if one buried his dead during the festival;8 and similarly R. Eleazar gave as his decision to his son R. Pedath, Even if one buried his dead during the festival.

Our Rabbis taught: ‘If one carried out the rule of overturning the couch9 for three days before the festival, he need not overturn it [any more] after the festival; these are the words of R. Eliezer; but the Sages say: [He need not] even if he had [done so] only for one day or even for one hour. Said R. Simeon b. Eleazar, Those were the very words of Beth Shammai and the very words of Beth Hillel: for Beth Shammai say: ‘For three days [before the festival]’, and the Hillelites Say: Even [if] for one day’. R. Huna said: R. Hiyya b. Abba, as citing R. Johanan. stated10 — sonic say that R. Johanan told R. Hiyya b. Abba and R. Huna: [He need not], even if he had [overturned the couch] for one day; even for one hour. Raba stated11 that the halachah is according to our Tanna [of the Mishnah] who said three days.12

Rabina once came to Sura-cum-Euphrates.13 Said R. Habiba to Rabina: What is the law [on this point]? — He replied: ‘Even [if he had the couch overturned] one day and even for one hour’. R. Hiyya b. Abba, R. Ammi and R. Isaac were [once] seated in the marquee of R. Isaac b. Eleazar14 when a discussion was begun between them: Whence is it authentically derived that the observance of mourning is for seven days? From the text, And I shall turn your feasts15 into mourning . . . [and I will make it as the mourning for an only son];16 just as the ‘Feast’ lasts seven days.15 so [the period of] mourning is also for seven days. But why not [draw an analogy with] the feast of ‘Azereth,17 which lasts but one day? — [No], that [analogy] is needed [for another lesson] as explained by Resh Lakish; for Resh Lakish said in the name of R. Judah Nesi'ah:18 Whence is it derived that on [the receipt of] belated tidings19 [formal] mourning obtains for one day only? From the text, And I shall turn your feasts into mourning;20 and we find ‘Azereth as an instance where one day's celebration is designated [a ‘Feast’].

Our Rabbis taught: On receiving near tidings [formal] mourning obtains for seven [days] as well as [up to] thirty [days]; on distant tidings, it obtains for one day only. Which are ‘near’ tidings and which ‘distant’ tidings? ‘Near’ tidings are [recent tidings] within, thirty [days] and ‘distant’ tidings are [belated tidings] after thirty [days]: these are the words of R. Akiba; the Sages, however, say, One and the same [practice obtains in both], on [the receipt of] ‘near’ tidings or of ‘distant’ tidings, [formal mourning] obtains for seven as well as [up to] thirty [days]. Said Rabbah b. Bar Hanah, as citing R. Johanan: Wherever you find a single authority expressing a lenient view and a number expressing a strict view, the halachah is in accordance with the strict view, save in this case: that although R. Akiba is lenient and the Sages are strict, the halachah is in accordance with R. Akiba, as Samuel stated, that in matters obtaining to mourning the halachah follows the lenient authority.

R. Hanina21 received tidings from Be[th]-Hozai about [the death of] his father; he consulted22 R. Hisda, [who] told him, ‘On [receipt of] distant tidings [formal mourning] obtains for one day only’. R. Nathan b. Ammi received tidings from Be[th]-Hozai about his mother; he consulted22 Raba, who told him: The authorities have already stated [that] on [receipt of] distant tidings [formal mourning] obtains for one day only. Thereupon he put to him an objection [from the following]: When does this ruling apply? In the case of the [other] five nearest-of-kin [for whom mourning is] obligatory;23 but for one's father or mother [mourning is for] seven [days] and [up to] thirty [days] — [Raba] replied: That is the ruling of an individual24 with which we do not concur, as [will be made clear from what] is taught [in the following]: ‘There was the case of the father of R. Zadok who had died at Ginzak,25 and he was not informed till after three years. He [thereupon] came and asked of Elisha b. Abuyah and the elders that were with him and they told him to observe seven [days] and [up to] thirty, and when R. Ahiyya's son died in the Diaspora,26 he [too] sat on his account seven and [observed mourning up to] thirty’. But this is not so? For when Rab, R. Hiyya's brother's son — who was also R. Hiyya's sister s son27 — came up there [to Palestine], he [R. Hiyya] said to his nephew [Rab]: ‘Is father alive’?28

(1) I.e., the observance of formal mourning by the mourner.
(2) Is deferred till after the festival.
(3) Lit., ‘the business of the public’, i.e., to pay visits of condolence and offer words of comfort.
(4) בסוף הרגל probably a misreading of בתוך הרגל ‘within’, ‘during the festival’, as in MS.M.
(5) ‘If one buried his dead during the festival, three days before towards conclusion . . .’ As the seven days have been dealt with already, the last sentence must refer to the thirty days, namely, that the festival days enter into the counting; i.e., not as Rabbah replied, negatively.
(6) ‘If one buried his dead two days before the festival’, when two days of the seven were also two days of the thirty, as Abaye himself admitted when he put the question to Rabbah.
(7) Of the thirty days, obviously.
(8) That part of the festival enters in the counting of thirty days.
(9) Cf. supra p. 92.
(10) As the Palestinian practice.
(11) As the Babylonian practice.
(12) As the minimum observance of formal mourning before the festival secures remission of the remainder.
(13) The Western part of Sura which lay along the junction of the Sura canal. V. Obermeyer p. 293.
(14) Palestinian authorities.
(15) I.e., Passover and Tabernacles, Lev. XXIII, 7-8 and 34-35.
(16) Amos VIII, 10.
(17) The Feast of Weeks; Deut. XVI, 10, 16 and cf. Num. XXVIII, 26.
(18) Judah II. grandson of R. Judah ha-Nasi (Judah I).
(19) Lit., ‘distant tidings’ (of a death), defined below.
(20) Amos VIII, 10. (10) The Feast of Weeks, Deut. XVI, 1, 16, cf. Num. XXVIII, 26.
(21) Var. lec. R. Hinena of Be(th)-Hozai (Chuzistan).
(22) Lit., ‘came before’.
(23) I.e., for brother, sister, wife, son and daughter. Lev. XXI, 2-4. This is again taken up lower down.
(24) The authority is named lower down.
(25) Gazaka, a city in North Media (Atropatene); according to Rawlinson it is Shiz near Lake Urmia. V. Obermeyer p. 10.
(26) Golah, the ancient place of the ‘Captivity’ when the first Temple fell, Babylon, Nehardea and later, Pumbeditha, were considered the most ancient centres of the Golah.
(27) R. Aha of Kafri married a widow and his eldest son Aybu married her daughter. From these unions Aha had a son R. Hiyya, and Aybu had a son Rab (‘R. Abba the Long’, later the famous principal of Sura). Rab's mother was R. Hiyya's half-sister (from one mother, i.e., R. Ala's second wife); and Rab's father Aybu was R. Hiyya's eldest half-brother (from the same father, namely, R. Aha of Kafri). R. Hiyya was therefore doubly related to his nephew Rab, being his paternal uncle as well as his maternal uncle, cf. Pes. 4a (Rashi).
(28) I.e., is my father Aha alive?

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 20b

He replied, ‘Mother’1 is alive’. [Again] he asked ‘Is mother2 alive’? He replied: ‘Father is alive’.3 R. Hiyya thereupon said to his attendant: ‘Take off my shoes and bring along my things after me to the [public] baths’. Now from this instance we learn three lessons: We learn that a mourner is forbidden to don shoes;4 that distant tidings [entail formal mourning] but for one day; and that part of the day is [deemed] as all entire day's [mourning]!5 [In fact], R. Hiyya is one person and R. Ahiyya [whose son died in the Diaspora] is another person.6

Said R. Jose b. Abin: [If] one received near tidings on a festival and by the [time of its] termination it became distant tidings, [the festival-time] enters into the counting and [accordingly] he observes but one day [of formal mourning]. R. Adda7 of Caesarea recited in the presence of R. Johanan: If one hears near tidings on a Sabbath day and by the termination of the Sabbath it has become distant tidings, he observes but one day [of formal mourning]. Does one [in such a case] rend his garment, or does he not rend his garment? — R. Mani said: He does not [need to] rend his garment; R. Hanina said, He does rend [his garment]. Said R. Mani to R. Hanina: My view that he does not rend [his garment] is consistent with the fact that there is no [observance of] ‘seven’. But according to your view that he [should] rend his garment, tell me, is there a rending of [one's garment] without [the observance of] the seven [days of mourning]? But is there not? Surely, Isi, father of R. Zera — or as sonic say, R. Zera's brother, recited in the presence of R. Johanan: If one had no tunic8 to rend [at the time] and he obtained one during the seven [days], he should rend it then; [if it became available] after the seven days, he does not rend it! [Thereupon] R. Zera chimed in after him: ‘When does this ruling apply? In the case of the [other] five nearest-of-kin [for whom mourning is] obligatory,9 but in the case of father or mother one always rends one's garment!’ — What you cited [in fact] refers to the deference to be shown to one's father or mother.10

Our Rabbis taught: For all [nearest-of-kin] mentioned in the Priest's Section11 for whom a priest is to defile himself, a mourner is to observe [formal] mourning, namely, these: [For] his wife, father or mother, brother or [single] sister, son or daughter. To these they added: His brother or single sister from the same mother,12 as well as his married sister, be it from the same mother or the same father.13 And just as he observes [formal] mourning for these, he likewise observes [formal] mourning for their relatives in the second degree:14 this is R. Akiba's ruling. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: [Extended, formal] mourning is not observed except for one's son's child and a father's father,15 and the Sages say [by way of definition]: Whomever he mourns for he should also mourn with.16 Is not the Sages’ view [practically] the same as that of the former Tanna?17 — Not [quite]; there is a [practical] difference between them, whether [we require him to be, that is to say when he is] with him in the [same] house,18 as Rab19 said to his son Hiyya, and as R. Huna likewise said to his son Rabbah:20 ‘In her presence observe mourning; away from her presence do not observe mourning’. [When] Mar Ukba's father-in-law's son died, he thought of sitting for him21 seven [days of mourning] and [continuing to] thirty. R. Huna going to his house found him [in formal mourning]. ‘Do you desire’, said he, ‘to eat of mourners’ fare?’22 They [the Sages] did not say that [one should observe formal mourning] out of deference to his wife only in the case of [the death of] his father-in-law or his mother-in-law,23 as it is taught: ‘If his father-in-law or mother-in-law died the husband may not compel his [mourning] wife to put on kohl or do her hair24 [as usual], but he should overturn his [own] couch and observe [formal] mourning with her; and likewise she, when her fatherin-law or mother-in-law dies, may not put on kohl or do her hair [as usual]; but she should overturn her couch and observe [formal] mourning with him’. And another Baraitha taught: ‘Although it was stated [that] he may not compel his wife to put on kohl or do her hair [as usual] it is — said they — indisputably correct25 that she [may] mix his wine for him, make his bed and wash his face, hands and feet’.26 [Now the regulations in] the two citations contradict each other.27 Hence infer from this that the one Baraitha refers to [the death of] a father-in-law or mother-in-law,28 while the other to [the death of] other near of kin.29 — This proves it.30 It is also taught thus [explicitly]: ‘They did not lay down [that one should observe formal mourning] out of deference to his wife, save [at the death of] his father-in-law or his mother-in-law alone’.

Amemar lost his son's son, and he rent [his garment]. Thereupon his son came and he [again] rent [his garment] in his [son's] presence. He then recollected that he had done it while sitting; he rose and relit [his garment again] standing. Said R. Ashi to Amemar: Whence do we derive that the rending [of a garment] is [to be done] standing? From the text: Then Job rose31 and rent his mantle.32

(1) To evade a direct doleful reply, Rab said that his own mother was alive, but said nothing about his grandfather, R. Aha of Kafri.
(2) I.e., is my mother alive? I.e., R. Hiyya's mother, Rab's grandmother, R. Aha's wife.
(3) Again to evade the direct and sad answer Rab replied that his own father (i.e., Aybu, R. Hiyya's half-brother) was alive, but nothing about it. Hiyya's mother, Aha's wife. This is according to R. Hananel. Rashi and Tosaf. s.v. אײבו offer different interpretations. V. Pes. 4a (Sonc. ed. p. 11.)
(4) Cf. supra p. 93.
(5) Even in the case of a parent one short while and one simple demonstration of respectful, sorrowful mourning, such as doffing the shoes, are enough; as soon after R. Hiyya went to the baths, which is forbidden to a mourner for a recent bereavement. Cf supra p. 101.
(6) That is, do not confuse Ahiyya of the Baraitha with Hiyya, Rab's uncle as being the same person who had acted differently on two occasions, at receiving belated distant news of the loss of a son and again of the loss of parents. They are two different persons.
(7) Var. lec. Abba.
(8) Of his own, to rend it at the poignant moment of hearing the sad tidings. Cf. infra, 24a and Tosaf. s.v. כי

(9) Brother, sister, wife, son and daughter. see next citation.
(10) [I.e., though there is no observance of seven days he rends his garments not as an obligation but as a special mark of respect for his parents; v. Nimmuke Yosef.]
(11) Lev. XXI, 1ff.
(12) [Though not of the same father. The text implies only a paternal brother or sister.]
(13) [Although the text speaks only of a single sister (ibid. v. 3).]
(14) I.e., for his grandfather, grandmother or grandchildren; also for brothers and sisters of parents, i.e., uncles and aunts.
(15) I.e., for these only but no others of those included in R Akiba's extended list. Cf. n. 7.
(16) E.g., One mourns (in sympathy) with his father on the death of his father's father; likewise a father mourns (in sympathy) with his son who loses a child.
(17) I.e., R. Simeon b. Eleazar
(18) As implied in the words of the Sages, ‘he should mourn with him’.
(19) When Rab's sister died, v. J.M.K. III, 5.
(20) When Rabbah's wife was in mourning.
(21) Out of deference to his wife.
(22) Food provided by friends. Cf. infra 24b arid 27aff.
(23) Cited in Samuel's name, J.M.K. III, 5.
(24) I.e., to insist that she should keep up her personal appearance, instead of looking neglected and dejected when numerous callers come to condole with her; kohl was used for the eye-brows.
(25) Lit., ‘in truth, they said’. V. B.M. 6.
(26) I.e., she may attend to his usual needs. [Washing hands and feet means in warm water which is forbidden to a mourner (Tosaf.).]
(27) In the former it is insisted that the husband must observe formal mourning out of deference to the wife, while in the latter, it implies that the husband need not.
(28) In which case he must mourn with her.
(29) In which case he need not mourn with her.
(30) That the distinction made by R. Huna supra is correct.
(31) I.e., stood up to perform the act of rending.
(32) Job I, 20.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 21a

But if that is so,1 [the text]: And if he stand and say, I like not to take her,2 [will be interpreted] similarly? But surely it is taught: [And if she loose the shoe from off the foot of a grownup levir], whether he be standing or sitting or stooping, [the ceremony is valid]?3 . — He replied: [It is because] there it is not written, ‘And he stood and said’;4 whereas here [in our instance] it is written, ‘And Job rose and rent his mantle’. Rami b. Hama said: Whence [is it derived] that the rending [of a garment] is to be done standing? From what is said: And Job rose and rent his mantle. But perhaps what he did was something extra? For should we not say so, [what of the next thing Job did], And he shaved his head, [should we] likewise [have to conform with it]? — Rather it is [to be derived] from here: Then the king arose and rent his garments.5 But here too, perhaps, what he did was something extra? For should you not say so [what of the next thing he did], And he lay on the earth,5 [should we] likewise [have to conform with it]? Whereas it is taught: ‘If a mourner sat on a bed,6 on a chair7 or on a stall for urns [and cans],8 or even goes to the extreme9 of sleeping on the bare ground, he has not discharged his duty [to the dead]’. And, explained R. Johanan, [It is] because he has not carried out the [custom of] overturning the bed? — He replied: [It means that David lay] as it were on the ground.

Our Rabbis taught: The following things are forbidden to a mourner: He is forbidden to do work, to bathe or anoint himself, to have [marital] intercourse, or don sandals; he is forbidden to read the Pentateuch, Prophets or Hagiograplia, or to recite the Mishnah, or Midrash and halachoth or the Talmud or aggadoth.10 If, however, the public have need of him, he need not abstain. There was all actual case, when a son of R. Jose of Sepphoris11 died, he went into the Beth Hamidrash12 and expounded there all day long; [also13 when a daughter of Rabbi died at Beth-Shearim, he went into the Beth Hamidrash and expounded there all day long]. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah had a bereavement [and] he thought he ought not to go out to [give] his lecture. Said Rab to him, We learned:14 ‘And if the public have need of him he does not refrain’. He then thought of calling upon his ‘expositor’ [assistant].15 When Rab said to him, ‘We learned:14 ‘Provided only that he does not place [at his side] an expositor [assistant]’. But then how is he to do? — After the manner taught [in the following]: ‘It happen ed, that when a son of R. Judah b. Il'ai died, he went into the Beth Hamidrash and R. Hananiah b. ‘Akabia also went in and sat him down at his side: he then whispered to R. Hananiah b. ‘Akabia and R. Hananiah b. ‘Akabia [whispered] to the Turgeman and the Turgeman spoke aloud to the public’.

Our Rabbis taught: ‘[During] the first three days a mourner is forbidden to put on phylacteries.16 From the third day onward, the third day included, he is allowed to put on phylacteries and he does not17 [have to] take them off at the entry of fresh personages [visitors]:18 this is R. Eliezer's opinion. R. Joshua says, A mourner is forbidden to put on phylacteries [during] the first two days. From the second day onward, the second day included, he is allowed to put on phylacteries; but at the entry of fresh personages [visitors] he takes17 them off.19 Said R. Mattena: What is the reason for R. Eliezer's view? — Because it is written: And the days of weeping in the mourning of Moses were ended.20 Said R. Ena: What is the reason for R. Joshua's view? — Because it is written: [And I will turn your feasts into mourning . . . And I will make it as the mourning for an only son] and the end thereof as a bitter day.21 But as to R. Joshua. surely it is written: [And the days of weeping in the mourning for Moses] were ended? — He may reply. The case of Moses was different; the mourning for him was [more] intense. And what of R. Eliezer too, surely it is written, ‘And the day thereof [I will make] as a bitter day’? — The poignancy of the bitterness is but on one day. Said ‘Ulla: The halachah follows R. Eliezer in regard to taking off [the phylacteries]22 and R. Joshua in regard to putting on [the phylacteries].23 They enquired: What of the second day [of mourning]. according to ‘Ulla? Does he [at the entrance of fresh personages] have to take them off, or does he not [have to] take them off? — Come and hear: ‘Ulla said: He takes them off and puts them on [the second day] even a hundred times’.24 Likewise it is taught: Judah b. Tema Says, He takes them off and puts them on even a hundred times. Raba said, Having put them on he does not take them off. But was it not Raba who said [above],25 The halachah follows our Tanna [of the Mishnah],26 who says [that the minimum observance of formal mourning is] three [days]?

(1) That the brother of the deceased husband must declare his rejection of a levirate marriage standing.
(2) Deut. XXV, 8.
(3) Yeb. 103a.
(4) The distinction is not clear, and texts vary; v. D.S. ad loc.
(5) II Sam. XIII, 31.
(6) Without any bedding.
(7) Var. lec. a bench.
(8) אורײני is the correct form derived from the Latin urnari(um), a low bench or stand for the urnae-cans and water buckets. This derivation fits in with the requirements of all the passages where this obscure word occurs. B.B. 144a and עירניה J.B.B. IX, 4; Tosef. Kel. 587, 22 and Sifra, Mezora II, Weiss 75c. Cf. however, Dictionaries and S. Krauss, T A. I., 273 n. 60 and addenda III, 361.
(9) V. marginal note according to Han. and Alfasi.
(10) The study of the Torah is considered a source of joy. Cf. Ps, XIX and CXIX, e.g. vv. 14, 16, 24, 47 etc.
(11) R. Jose b. Halafta, prominent in the College of Rabbi.
(12) The College.
(13) This bracketed part (which occurs in MS.M.) has accidentally fallen out through the same ending ‘all day long’.
(14) So MS. M.
(15) It was the practice to call upon a competent scholar or scholars at the college to stand at the side of the Principal or lecturer of the day and expound the theme to the listeners in several groups. He was called Amora or Turgeman (Meturgeman) _ expounder, interpreter (dragoman).
(16) Cf. supra 15a.
(17) In Sem. VI, and J.M.K. III, 5, it is the reverse.
(18) [Although they might be led to assume that he had donned the phylacteries also in the first two days.]
(19) Rashi: on the second day; according to J.M.K. (ibid.) in the week of mourning.
(20) Deut. XXXIV, 8. That the main mourning is during the first three days is derived by counting the three expressions. ‘days’, ‘weeping’, ‘mourning’.
(21) Amos VIII, 10, which indicates that the essential mourning is but one day. .
(22) That he need not take them off on the third day at the entry of fresh visitors.
(23) On the second day.
(24) Each time at the entry of new visitors, to show the visitors that he has not been disregarding the law hitherto.
(25) 20a about keeping the bed overturned for at least three days before a festival.
(26) Supra 19a.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 21b

— It is different in the case of a religious precept. [like phylacteries].1

Our Rabbis taught: A mourner is forbidden, during the first three days [to do] work, even a poor man who receives maintenance from charity; thereafter he does [his work] privately, in his house: and a woman [in mourning] plies the spindle in her house.

Our Rabbis taught: A mourner should not go during the first three days to a place of mourning;2 thereafter he may go but not take a place among the comforters, but among those who are [to be] comforted.

Our Rabbis taught: A mourner is forbidden during the first three days to give greeting [of peace];3 after three and to seven [days], he responds but does not give greeting [of peace]; thereafter he gives greeting [of peace] and responds in his usual manner.

[It is stated above] ‘Forbidden during the first three days to give greeting of peace’. But surely it was taught: It happened, when [two]4 sons of R. Akiba, [bridegrooms],5 died, all Israel entered6 and made a great lament for them, and as the people were about to depart, R. Akiba stood on a large bench7 and addressed them: Our brethren, the House of Israel, hear ye! Even though these two sons were ‘bridegrooms’,8 I am9 consoled on account of the honour you have done [them].10 And even though you have come on account of Akiba, there is many an Akiba!11 But this it is what you said [to yourselves]: The law of God is in his heart, [his footsteps will not falter].12 All the more then, two-fold be your reward: Go home unto peace!’13 — Deference towards the public is a different matter.

[It was stated above ‘After three to seven [days]; he responds but does not give greeting [of peace]; thereafter, he gives greeting [of peace] and responds, in his usual manner’. Some contrasted this statement with the following: ‘One who meets his fellow mourner within thirty days, tenders him [words of] consolation but enquires not about his peace; after the thirty days he enquires about his peace, but tenders him not [words of] consolation.14 If his [friend's] wife had died and he married another [formally],15 he is not allowed to call at his house to tender him [there,16 words of] consolation; if he meets him in the street he expresses [his condolence] to him in a low voice and with downcast looks!’17 — Said R. Idi b. Abin: The mourner enquires about the peace of others [within his period of mourning]18 because others’ are abiding in peace; others enquire not about the peace of the mourner, because he is not abiding in peace [but in sorrow].19 But then, since it states [in the former Baraitha]: [After three to seven days] ‘he responds. . .’, does this not imply that others may enquire [about the mourner's peace]?20 — Where they are unaware [of his bereavement]. If so, does not the same apply also to the other earlier period?21 — [No,] then21 he is obliged to acquaint them [of his sorrow] and makes no [further] response, whereas here22 he need not acquaint them [of it].

Thereupon some contrasted [this latter Baraitha] with the following: One who meets another mourner within a twelvemonth tenders him [words of] consolation, but does not enquire about his ‘peace’;23 after a twelvemonth, he enquires about his ‘peace and does not tender him [words of] consolation, but may refer to his sorrow indirectly.24 Said R. Meir: If one meets another mourner after a twelvemonth and tenders him [then words of] consolation, to what can he be likened? To [the case of] a man who had his leg broken and healed when a physican met him and said to him, Come to me and let me break it and set it [again], to convince you that my medicaments are good? — This offers no diffculty: This last citation refers to [the death of] father or mother, while the former refers to [the death of] other near of kin. But in that case25 too, why not tender him [words of] consolation indirectly? — Yes indeed [he may], and what means: [‘After thirty days he may] not tender him [words of] consolation’ is, [not] in one's usual manner — but he refers to his sorrow indirectly.

Our Rabbis taught: A mourner who arrives home during the first three days from a place in the near vicinity, counts [his days of mourning] with them.26 If he came home from a distance, he counts on his own. Thereafter even if he came home from a place in the vicinity he counts on his own. R. Simeon says: Even if he came home on the seventh day from a place in the vicinity, he counts with them.26

The Master said: ‘During the first three days from a place in the vicinity, he counts with them’. R. Hiyya b. Abba, as citing R. Johanan said that this is done only where the chief person of the household was at home. The following question was then raised:

(1) Deut. VI, 8; XI. 18.
(2) Lit., ‘House of mourning’, i.e., either to a private house or to the cemetery to attend a funeral. Cf. Sem. VI.
(3) Lit., ‘enquire about his "peace"’ (welfare). E.g., Gen. XXIX, 6 and cf. supra p. 89, n. 10.
(4) Cf. D. note 7: probably during a plague.
(5) So Sem. III, 6. The expression denotes that they died in the prime of life, under thirty years of age.
(6) The cemetery.
(7) An improvised rostrum.
(8) V. p. 135 n. 8.
(9) The text reads, ‘He is consoled’ by way of euphemism, to avoid an omen for one who reads or recounts this.
(10) By your presence.
(11) I.e., I am not so great a man as to be entitled to it all.
(12) Ps. XXXVII, 31.
(13) Thus R. Akiba tendered ‘peace’ to his audience on the very first day of mourning. Cf. Sem. VIII, where this incident among others is told at length.
(14) Here ends the part that causes difficulty. The attempted reply follows later after the conclusion of the whole quotation.
(15) That is by betrothal within the thirty days of mourning: this is permitted for the sake of little children, left motherless; often it is the deceased wife's sister. He may thus marry her formally but is not to live with her as man and] wife till after the period of mourning is over. Generally a widower should wait till after the three Festivals — Passover, Weeks and Tabernacles have passed, before he marries again. Cf. infra, 23a.
(16) Not to embarrass the second wife.
(17) Lit., ‘with faint lip and heavy head’, so as to avoid giving the impression of being cynical. l This Baraitha thus teaches that within the thirty days one may not greet a mourner, which is in opposition to the ruling of the former Baraitha that the mourner himself is permitted to exchange greetings once the seven days are over].
(18) Within the thirty days.
(19) [I.e., the two Baraithas are not contradictory: whereas the former teaches that the mourner may greet others within the thirty days, the latter forbids others to greet him within, that period.]
(20) And thus the two Baraithas are still contradictory.
(21) I.e., during the first three days.
(22) After three days.
(23) Whereas above it was ruled that after thirty days one may tender greetings.
(24) Rashi: He merely utters a word of comfort without mentioning the name of the deceased.
(25) I.e., in the case of other near-of-kin to which the former Baraitha refers.
(26) With the other members of the family.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 22a

What if the chief person1 of the household had gone to the place of interment?2 — Come and hear: For R. Hiyya b. Abba as citing R. Johanan. said that even if the chief person of the household went to the place of interment, he [still] counts with them. [You say] ‘He counts with them?’ Why, it is taught [definitely]: ‘He counts by himself’! — That is not difficult [to explain]: The former [ruling] obtains where he returned within three [days]; the latter [ruling] obtains where he had not returned within three [days]. Similar it is to what Rab told the sons of Hazzalponi:3 Those that come [home] within three [days] should count with you; those that do not come [home] within three [days] should count by themselves. Raba told the people of Mahoza: You who do not follow the bier,4 should begin counting [the days of mourning] as soon as you turn your faces from the city gates.

‘R. Simeon says, Even if he came home on the seventh day from a place in the vicinity he counts with them’. Said R. Hiyya b. Gamada that R. Jose b. Saul as reporting Rabbi said: That is [done] only where [on his arrival] he found comforters still present.5 R. ‘Anan then enquired: What if they [the comforters] had just made ready6 themselves to get up [and leave] but had not yet left? — This stands over [for a solution]. The fellow-collegiate of R. Abba b. Hiyya had it as a tradition from R. Abba — Who was that [fellow-collegiate]? — R. Zera; and some say that it was the fellow-collegiate of R. Zera who had heard it from R. Zera. — And who was that [fellow-collegiate]? — R. Abba son of R. Hiyya b. Abba — who reported R. Johanan [to have stated]: ‘The halachah is to follow R. Simeon b. Gamaliel's view on the point of terefoth7 and the halachah is to follow R. Simeon on the point of mourning’. The view of R. Simeon on the point of mourning is this one which we have just cited; and the view of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel on terefoth is that which is taught:8 ‘If intestines had become perforated and mucilage blocks the perforation, it [the animal's flesh] is kasher’.9 What is ‘mucilage’? — Said R. Kahana: it is the viscous matter inside the intestines which comes away under pressure. Said someone; May I be granted to go up to [Palestine] and learn the legal dictum from the mouth of the Master himself! When he went up he came upon R. Abba son of R. Hiyya b. Abba. Said he to him: ‘Did you, sir, say that the halachah is to follow R. Simeon b. Gamialiel on the point of terefoth’? — He replied: ‘I said that the halachah is not so’! And what about the point of mourning’, [is the halachah in that case] to follow R. Simeon? — He replied: Opinions are divided on that, as it has been stated: ‘R. Hisda said, [R. Simeon's view is] the halachah, and R. Johanan said likewise; [but] R. Nahman said, [R. Simeon's view is] not the halachah. The [present] halachah however does not follow R. Simeon b. Gamaliel's view in terefoth; but as to the point of mourning. the halachah is like R. Simeon's, because of Samuel's dictum that in matters of mourn ing, the halachah is to follow the [view of the] lenient authority’.

[Our Rabbis taught]:10 ‘[If] for all [other] dead one expedites [the departure of] the bier,11 he is praiseworthy; but in the case of one's father or mother, he is blameworthy. If it was the day before the Sabbath or a festival,12 [or if pouring rain was falling on it], he is praiseworthy, as he expedites [the interment] out of deference to his father or mother. For all [other] dead, if he desires, he minimizes his business13 or if he does not desire,

(1) Not necessarily the senior person of the family, but the person in charge of the affairs of the household.
(2) And was away for three days. Does he count on his return with the folks at home whose period of mourning commenced as soon as the cortege departed. or does he count from the time of interment?
(3) Cf. I Chron. IV, 3. Or were these Jewish converts of the Beni-Solibi clan of bedouin Arabs, hailing from the neighbourhood of Zulfa in N.E. Arabia? V. Enc. Brit. s.v. Bedouins, III, (11th ed.) p. 623h. [Obermeyer, p. 298, identifies it with Zalfiun near Sura, the seat of Rab.]
(4) [The cemetery was far removed from the town so as not to offend the susceptibilities of the Persians who disapproved of the burial of the dead; v. Obermeyer, p. 174].
(5) Lit., ‘at his side’.
(6) Lit., ‘bestirred themselves’.
(7) Plur. of trefa, a defect indicating a disease in animals or birds slaughtered for food. Cf. Hul. III, 1ff.
(8) תניא is more correct than תנן Cf. Hul. 50a.
(9) Fit for Jewish consumption, not rejected on account of some organic defect.
(10) So D.S. and many other texts. Cf. Sem. IX.
(11) I.e., hastens the interment.
(12) When delay involves keeping the body till the day after their termination.
(13) I.e., his business affairs (Rashi) before the funeral. Or, according to Han. quoting Palestinian Talmud, he minimizes the expenses of the funeral and lament. Cf. J.M.k. III, 8.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 22b

he does not minimizes it’; but for his father or mother he should minimize [his business].1 For all [other] dead, if he desires, he bares [his shoulder] and if he does not desire he does not bare it; for his father or mother he must bare [his shoulder].2 It happened once with a certain ‘great man of the generation’ whose father had died, that he desired to bare [his shoulder],3 and [another] ‘great man of the generation’ that was with him desired to bare his too, and on that account he [the mourner] refrained and did not bare [his shoulder].4

Said Abaye, The ‘great man of the generation’ referred to was Rabbi, and the [other] ‘great man of the generation’ that was with him was R. Jacob b. Aha [the elder]. Some say that ‘the great man of the generation’ was R. Jacob b. Alia and the [other] great man of the generation’ that was with him was Rabbi. Now it seems correct if Rabbi was the ‘great man of the generation’ that was with him [with the mourner], we understand why [R. Jacob b. Aha]5 refrained and did not bare [his shoulder and heart];6 but according to the [other] report that Rabbi [was the mourner] and that R. Jacob b. Aha was the ‘great man of the generation’ that was with him, why did not he [Rabbi] bare [his shoulder and both hands] as Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel [Rabbi's father] was the Nasi, and everybody should by rights have bared [their shoulders]!7 — This is difficult [to explain].

‘For8 all dead one has his hair trimmed after thirty days; for one's father or mother [one lets his hair grow long]9 until his companions rebuke him. For all dead one enters a house of rejoicing after thirty days; for his father and mother [not] till after twelve months’. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah10 said:11 ‘And [one may go] to a joyous entertainment of comrades’.12 An objection was raised: ‘And [one may not go to a joyous [feast] as well as to [an entertainment of] rejoicing and to comrades [for] thirty days’!13 — This [divergence] presents difficulty.

Amemar taught [his comments] on that [same] Baraitha thus: Said Rabbah b. Bar Hanali, ‘But [to go] to a joyous entertainment of comrades is allowed forthwith’.14 But then [in another version] it is taught: ‘[One may go] to a joyous [feast] after thirty [days] and to an entertainment of comrades [after] thirty days’? — This [discrepancy] is not difficult [to explain]; the latter [version] refers to a first15 [invitation to an] entertainment [of comrades], while the former [version] refers to a return entertainment16 [of comrades].

‘For all17 [other] dead one makes a rent [in his tunic] of a handbreadth [in depth]; for one's father or mother [he rends his clothes] till he bares his heart [chest].’ Said R. Abbahu, What text is there [which teaches this]? Then David took hold on his clothes and rent them,18 and there is no taking hold [of anything] by less than a hand's breadth.19

‘For all [other] dead one rends only the uppermost [garment] even though he be wearing [then] ten; but for one's father or mother one rends them all’. And [the rending of] one's undershirt is not indispensable, be it in man or woman; R. Simeon b. Eleazar says. ‘A woman rends her undermost garment and turns it [front to] back and then again rends her uppermost garment,20 For all [other] dead, if one desire he divides the [upper] selvage-border of his [garment],21 and if he does not desire he does not divide it; for his father or mother he must divide, R. Judah says, Any rending [of a garment] that divides not the selvage-border thereof is mere make-believe. Said R. Abbahu: What is the reason for R. Judah's [statement]? — The text: [And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof! And he saw him no more] and he took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces.22 Once it says ‘and he rent them’ do I not know that he rent them in two? But [the addition of ‘in two’23 implies] that [at the rent] the garments appeared as if torn into two [separate] pieces.24

‘For all [other] dead, one tacks25 the rent together after seven [days] and [completely] reunites [the edges] after thirty [days]; for one's father or mother one tacks it together after thirty [days], but never reunites [the edges]; a woman tacks it together forthwith, out of the respect due to her. When R. Abin came [from Palestine] he said as citing R. Johanan: ‘For all [other] dead, if one desires, he rends [his garment] with the hand, or if he desires he rends by an instrument; for one's father or mother one rends with the hand’. And R. Hiyya b. Abba said, as citing R. Johanan: ‘For all [other] dead [one rends] inside;26 for one's father or mother one rends outside’.27

R. Hisda observed: And the same rule obtains28 on the [death of a] Nasi. An objection was raised: ‘[Those other dignitaries]29 were not deemed equal to one's father or mother save in regard to re-uniting [the edges of the rent] alone’. Does not this [inequality] hold also for the Nasi?30 — No, the Nasi alone [is an exception].30 The Nesi'ah31 died. Said R. Hisda to R. Hanan b. Raba:32 Turn the mortar33 , upside down, stand on it and show the rending [of garmentsj to all the people! For a Hakam [sage]34 one bares [the hand and shoulder] on the right; for the Ab Beth din, on the left, and for a Nasi on both sides’.

Our Rabbis taught: When a Hakam dies, his Beth Hamidrash is in vacation; when the Ab Beth din dies all the Colleges in his city are in vacation and [the people of the synagogue]35 enter the synagogue[s] and change their [usual] places: those that [usually] sit in the north sit in the south and those that [usually] sit in the south sit in the north. When a Nasi dies, all the Colleges are in vacation36 and the people of the synagogue enter the synagogue37

(1) I.e., even after the burial, during the thirty days of mourning. Han. and Hay Gaon, quoted Otz. Hag. no. 199.
(2) And also bares his heart (chest). Sem. IX.
(3) For a Hakam (doyen), the (shoulder and) right hand are bared; for the president of the Beth din, the (shoulder and) left hand are bared; for the Nasi both (shoulders and) hands are bared. It happened, when R. Eliezer died, that R. Akiba bared ‘both his hands’ (arms) and beat his breast till it was bleeding and he said: my father, my father, the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. (II Kings, II, 12). Sem. IX. Cf. infra 22b.
(4) Here the series of citations from Sem. IX is interrupted by an observation of historical interest.
(5) D.S. and many other texts.
(6) Out of deference to Rabbi who was the Nasi, and therefore for him it was infra dignitatem. This was no disrespect to R. Jacob's father, as this is provided for in the rules: ‘And if they (one's father or mother) seem not important (enough) for (the baring), he (the son) does lot bare himself even for his father or mother’. Sem. IX. It should be noted that R. Jacob's father was not a qualified Rabbi, and that if ‘Rabbi’ Judah, the Nasi did out of deference to R. Jacob b. Aha bare himself, it would cause adverse comment among those present at the funeral. On R. Jacob b. Aha's status, v. Shab. 31a and A. Hyman, Toledoth s.v. II, 774a.
(7) V. p. 140, n. 8.
(8) The quotation is resumed.
(9) So D.N. and other texts. V. Tosaf. s.v. עד

(10) Var. lec. Rabbah b. R. Huna.
(11) [In commenting on the rule that one may enter a house of rejoicing after thirty days].
(12) שמחת מריעות For the expression, cf. Judg. XIV, 10ff, where it is connected with a betrothal or marriage celebration. It is this taken by SBH p. 110. Generally, however, it is taken to denote an ordinary social repast shared with one's intimate friends. The import of Rabbah's observation is rather ambiguous and, accordingly, taken variously: — (a) A comrade's entertainment may not be attended until before the thirty days are over, as there is conviviality, eating and drinking; much less may one go to a joyous celebration, such as a betrothal, or marriage ceremony with music and singing. (b) That a comrade's entertainment which provides enjoyment for one's own boon companions should not be entered upon before thirty days; but at a religious ceremonious celebration, a marriage ceremony, a circumcision etc. one may attend sooner, especially if one does not join in the feasting. V. Tosaf., Asheri par. 41, Nahmanides (Torath ha-Adam) and Ritba.
(13) [This proves that the two phrases are not identical].
(14) At the termination of the seven days.
(15) There are various readings: D.S. reads — ארשיותא; SBH: ארישותא — from רשא, ‘to begin with’. Cf Ber. 46a and Ritba: ** — a ‘voluntary’ entertainment, which can be fixed for a later date.
(16) I.e., when it is his turn to entertain or to attend and he cannot defer it or absent himself and therefore may hold his entertainment forthwith. So Han.
(17) The quotation is resumed. V. supra p. 141, n. 8.
(18) II Sam. I, 11.
(19) Cf. Suk. 32fr,and Nid. 26a.
(20) Thus avoiding exposure of her chest.
(21) About the neck and shoulders.
(22) II Kings, 11, 12.
(23) Lit., ‘And he rent them in two rent pieces’.
(24) So infra 26a (for parents or one's teachers). V. D.S. p. 76 n. 7.
(25) Roughly, large basting stitches.
(26) Privately, aside, turned away from the bystanders (Rashi); or, rending an interior garment (Giat). V. Ritba.
(27) Coram populo, demonstratively displaying his grief before all present.
(28) As in the case of a parent, to rend publicly.
(29) One's master, the Nasi, and the president of the Beth din. Cf. infra 26a (top).
(30) In regard to rending the garment publicly.
(31) The descendant-successors of R. Judah Ha-nasi were denominated Nesi'ah (Aramaic form of ha-Nasi).
(32) Var. lec. R. Nahman b. Ammi.
(33) The mortar was a large crib or trough (for pounding olives for the press or soaking barley for brewing beer) cf. A.Z. 8b and Keth. 8a.
(34) The official title of the consultative expert of a constituted Beth din, next in rank to the Ab Beth din, Vice President of the Court and the Nasi. V. Hor., Sonc. ed. p. 101, nn. 6 and 8.
(35) So Han; Asheri etc. read: and the people of his town.
(36) Cf. Keth. 103a-b.
(37) On the Sabbath day.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 23a

and seven persons read [the weekly portions of the Torah]1 and thereafter they come away. R. Joshua b. Korhah says, Not that they go and walk about in the street but they sit [at home] in silence.2 Neither a halachic theme3 nor an aggadah should be discussed in the house of mourning. It was related of R. Hananiah b. Gamaliel that he used to speak on halachic and aggadic themes in the house of mourning.

Our Rabbis taught: during the first week a mourner does not go out of the door of his house; the second week he goes out but does not sit in his [usual] place [in the synagogue];4 the third week he sits in his [usual] place but does not speak; the fourth week he is like any other person. Says R. Judah: There was no need to say ‘In the first week he does not go out of the door of his house’, as then everybody comes into his house to comfort him; [what it should] rather [say is that] the second [week] he does not go out of the door of his house; the third [week] he goes out but does not sit in his [usual] place [in the synagogue]; the fourth [week] he sits in his place but does not speak; in the fifth [week] he is like any other person. Our Rabbis taught: For [the whole] thirty days [the mourner is debarred from] taking a wife. If his wife died, he is forbidden to take another until three Festivals have gone by. R. Judah says. [Until] the first festival and the second he is forbidden [to marry]; before the third he is allowed. If he have no children he may take a wife forthwith,5 lest [otherwise]6 he may fail in [the duty of] procreation.7 If she left him little children, he is allowed to take a wife forthwith to take care of them. It happened that the wife of Joseph the Priest died and he said on the burial ground to her sister: Go and take care of your sister's children: nevertheless he did not go in to her [as husband] till a long time after. What is [meant by] a ‘long time’? — R. Papa said, Alter thirty days.

Our Rabbis taught: [During the whole] thirty days [the mourner is debarred from donning] pressed8 clothes: it makes no difference whether they be old or new clothes coming out of the press.9 Rabbi says, They only forbade new clothes; R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon says, They only forbade new white linen clothes.

Abaye went out10 in a worn sarbal,11 in accordance with Rabbi.12 Raba went out13 in a new Roman re tunic,14 in accordance with R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon.15

BECAUSE THEY [THE SAGES] SAID16 THAT THE SABBATH ENTERS [INTO COUNT] BUT DOES NOT INTERRUPT; [WHIle FESTIVALS INTERRUPT, AND DO NOT ENTER INTO COUNT]. The Judeans and the Galileans [differed in regard to this Mishnah], the one party saying

(1) But pray individually, not as a congregational service. So Rashi. This however is contradicted by a responsum of Natronai Otz. Hag. (Lewin) n. 91.
(2) Han. Alfasi, MS.M. etc. read: ‘sit in anguish’. Sem. X (end) enlarges: They sit or stand saddened and are like people who have Parnes (leader). When the time of rising arrives they minimize their affairs and rise’.
(3) שמועה — a novel exposition of the legal import of a Mishnah, Baraitha ‘heard’ from some prominent teacher. Aggadah, is a homiletical exposition of ethical import.
(4) Sem. X.
(5) If the date of nuptials had been fixed before the bereavement took place.
(6) Delay might lead to a cancellation of the match and loss of his only opportunity for a suitable spouse.
(7) V. Gen. I, 27-28; II, 24.
(8) I.e., ironed, or pressed smooth out of their creases. S. Krauss, TA I, 156, 581 translates, ‘bleaching’;
(9) After bleaching, the clothes were put in a press; v. Krauss, loc. cit.
(10) During the thirty days of mourning.
(11) גררדא דסרבלא: In Syrian grida means a worn garment, or piece of cloth. Is גרדא perhaps the Aramaic equivalent of the Greek ** or **? which means a shabby, rough cloak or cape. Sarbal means a mantle (and sometimes, Persian trousers). V. Kohut Ar. Compl. s.v. סרבל. Jast. renders, in a fresh scraped and smoothed cloak.
(12) [Who permitted freshly pressed or bleached clothes provided they were not new].
(13) During the thirty days of mourning.
(14) Or shirt.
(15) [Who forbade new pressed clothes only if white].
(16) In reference to the efficacy of festivals or the Sabbath to cancel or defer the observances of formal mourning. V. Mishnah, supra 19a.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 23b

that [some] mourning is to be observed1 on the Sabbath and the others saying that there is no [observance of] mourning on the Sabbath. Those that said that [some] mourning is observed on the Sabbath based themselves on the wording in the Mishnah, [THE SABBATH] ENTERS [INTO COUNT]; the others who said that mourning is not observed on the Sabbath based their view on the wording [AND] DOES NOT INTERRUPT. For, [said they], should you assume that mourning is to be observed on the Sabbath, why need we have [the reservation] AND DOES NOT INTERRUPT? But surely it states [also], [THE SABBATH] ENTERS [INTO COUNT]! — Because he has to teach in the latter part that [FESTIVALS]. . . DO NOT ENTER INTO COUNT, he teaches also [for the sake of symmetry] in the former part [THE SABBATH] ENTERS [INTO COUNT]. And as to the other side who said that [some] mourning is to be observed on the Sabbath, surely it states AND DOES NOT INTERRUPT? — Because he has to state in the latter part that [FESTIVALS] INTERRUPT [the mourning], he teaches also [for the sake of symmetry] in the former part [THE SABBATH. . .] DOES NOT INTERRUPT.

Might not one suggest that their disagreement goes back to the [divergent] views of [older] Tannaim [as set out in the following Baraitha]? For it has been taught: ‘One who has his dead laid out before him eats [his meals] in another house [room]; if he have not another house [room], he eats in his friend's house; if he have not a friend's house [available], he makes him a partition [ten handbreadths high];2 if he have not the wherewithal to make a partition, he turns away his face as he takes his meals. And he does not recline3 as he eats [nor does he eat his fill]4 — he eats not meat nor drinks wine, nor does he say the grace. nor does he invite others [partaking in the meal to join in grace with him]5 nor do others invite him;6 and he is exempt from a recital of Shema’,7 from Saying the Tefillah8 or donning phylacteries, and [exempt] from the performance of any religious duties that are commanded in the Torah. [When do these said restrictions obtain? On weekdays];9 but on Sabbath10 he takes meals reclining, eats meat and drinks wine, recites grace, invites others [to join him] and others invite him and it is incumbent on him to recite the Shema’ and to say the Tefillah11 and to perform all the religious duties commanded in the Torah. Rabban Gamaliel12 says,13 Since he re-enters into these several obligations [here mentioned] he enters into the obligation of all [religious duties].’ [And commenting on this] R. Johanan said that the actual difference between them is the question of ‘using the [marital] couch’.14 Now, is not this the issue between them: One Master15 takes the view that [some] mourning is to be observed on Sabbath and the other Master16 that there is to be no mourning on Sabbath? Why [do you think so]? Perhaps there17 the first Tanna might not have gone so far as to forbid,18 save only because his dead is still laid out in front of him; but here,19 he might not [forbid].20 Again, Rabban Gamaliel there21 would not have gone so far as to allow,20 save only because there21 the incidence of mourning has not yet occurred;22 whereas here,19 where the incidence of mourning has already occurred, he might also [forbid].20

(1) privately, at home, e.g., covering the head, sleeping on an overturned couch, not occupying the marital couch, not greeting with ‘peace’. ‘In Judea they greeted mourners with "peace" on entering and leaving his house, to show that mourning did not obtain on Sabbath’. Sem. X (end.).
(2) This is a gloss — not found in the parallel texts — on the technical height of a partition. Cf. Shab. 6a — and Tosa, Suk. 5b s. v. עשרה

(3) On a couch or seated round the table with others; that is, he does not have his meals in style.
(4) Sem. adds: ‘Nor does he eat all he requires’ — i.e., his fill.
(5) Three or more eating together should join as a group in saying grace. Cf. Ber. 45a.
(6) [Rashi Ber. 17b explains differently: He recites no benediction before meals, nor does he say grace after meals. Nor do others recite the benediction before meals on his behalf, nor does he join in the grace after meals.]
(7) ‘Hear, O Israel. . ., Dent. VI, 4ff Cf. P.B. pp. 30ff
(8) The ‘Amidah, or the ‘Eighteen Benedictions (19) Prayer’ for weekdays. V. P.B. p. 44ff.
(9) So Sem. X.
(10) Sem. ibid. adds, he eats according to his requirements.
(11) The ‘Amidah or Seven Benedictions for the Sabbath. MS. M. omits ‘phylacteries’, as these are never donned on Sabbath.
(12) So also Sem. and other texts. In Ber. 17b Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel.
(13) Sem. inserts: A mourner on Sabbath is as if he were no mourner.
(14) I.e., marital intercourse during the Sabbath, which is otherwise forbidden during the week of mourning. Rabban Gamaliel's statement implies that he is permitted to use the marital couch on the Sabbath of the week of mourning. Conjugal rights are among the Scriptural obligations of a husband to his wife. Ex. XXI, 10 and cf. Keth. 61a.
(15) The first Tanna in the cited Baraitha.
(16) R. Gamaliel.
(17) In the Baraitha which deals with the case before burial.
(18) The conjugal couch on the Sabbath.
(19) In the Mishnah which deals with mourning after the burial.
(20) The conjugal couch on the Sabbath.
(21) In the Baraitha which deals with the case before burial.
(22) The observance of formal mourning does not begin till after the funeral.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 24a

Mar Yohani1 enquired of Samuel, Was there [some] mourning [to be observed] on Sabbath or was there no mourning on the Sabbath? — He replied, There is no mourning [to be observed] on the Sabbath.

Some Rabbis sitting in the presence of R. Papa reported in the name of Samuel that a mourner who used the conjugal couch during the [seven] days of his mourning is guilty of a mortal offence. Said R. Papa to them, What was reported was that it is ‘forbidden’, not ‘a mortal offence’, and in the name of R. Johanan it was reported [and not in the name of Samuel]; and if you heard aught [condemned] in the name of Samuel [as a mortal offence] it was this: ‘Said R. Tahlifa b. Abimi, as reporting Samuel, A mourner who did not let his hair grow long and did not rend his clothes is guilty of a mortal offence. For it was said [to Aaron and his surviving sons]:2 Let not the hair of your heads go loose neither rend your clothes, that ye die not. . . ,3 which [clearly] implies that any [other] mourner if he has not let the hair [of his head] go loose and has not rent his clothes, is guilty of a mortal offence’.

Rafram4 , b. Papa said, It is taught in the Ebel Rabbathi:5 ‘A mourner is forbidden to use the [conjugal] couch during his [seven] days of mourning’; and it happened [once] with one who used his [conjugal] couch during the [seven] days of his mourning that swine hauled away his carcass.6

Samuel said, Pahaz,7 are obligatory; Natar,7 are optional [on the Sabbath] i.e., the unveiling of the head,8 turning the rent side [of his garment] from front to back and tilting up the couch [into its normal position] are obligatory [on the mourner, in honour of the Sabbath]; donning sandals, the use of the conjugal bed and washing his hands and feet with warm water at [the approach of the] Sabbath even are optional.9 But Rab says, The unveiling of his head is also optional. Now, what is the difference n the case of the donning of sandals [on the Sabbath] that Samuel treats it as optional? [presumably] because not everyone usually wears shoes;10 is it not so likewise with the unveiling of the head, as not everybody generally goes about with head unveiled? — Samuel is consistent in this, as Samuel said, ‘Any rending [of clothes] not done in the flush [of grief]11 is not a [proper] rending, and any muffling [of the face] not alter the manner of the Ishmaelites,12 is not a proper muffling [for a mourner]’. R. Nahman demonstrated it [by covering himself up in his mantle] right up to the sides of the beard.13

Said R. Jacob, as reporting R. Johanan: This statement was made [above]14 only in reference to one who has no shoes on his feet, but if he has shoes on his feet [on the Sabbath] his shoes give evidence about him.15

‘Any rending [of clothes] not done in the flush [of grief] is not a [proper] rending’. But yet [when] they said to Samuel, ‘Rab's soul has gone to rest’, he rent on account of him thirteen garments [and] said: ‘Gone is the man before whom I trembled’!16 When they told R. Johanan. ‘The soul of R. Hanina has gone to rest’, he rent on account of him thirteen robes17 of Milesian wool and said: ‘Gone is the man before whom I trembled’!18 — Rabbis are in a different category, since their discussions are always recalled it is [for us] like ‘the first flush [of grief]’.19

Said Rabin b. Adda to Raba: Your disciple R. Amram said that it was taught, ‘A mourner [hearing of a fresh bereavement] at any time during the seven [days] rends his [clothes] in the forepart thereof, and if he has [occasion] to change [the garment]. he changes and rends afresh; on the Sabbath he rends [on hearing the news] in the hinder part [of the garment]. and if he has [occasion] to change it, he changes but tears not [afresh]’?20 — That was taught only where [it was] in honour of one's father or mother, [but not for other near of kin].

Are such rents [to be] sewed up21 or are they not [to be] sewed up? — On that, [Nahmani]22 father of R. Oshaia and Bar Kappara held different views, one saying that the rents are [to be] sewed up and the other saying that they are not [to be] sewed up. May it be inferred that it was the father of R. Oshaia that said that these were not [to be] sewed up, as R. Oshaia said that they were not [to be] sewed up; from whom had he heard this if not from his father? — Not [necessarily]: he [R. Oshaia] heard it from his master, [who was] Bar Kappara.

Raba said, A mourner may walk about in his [rent] wrap23 indoors [on the Sabbath]. Abaye found R. Joseph going in and out of his house, his head covered with a sudarium24 [on the Sabbath]. Said he to him:25 Do you not, sir, hold the view that there is to be no [observance of] mourning on the Sabbath? — He replied: Thus said R. Johanan: ‘Intimate [forms of] mourning may be maintained [on the Sabbath]’.

R. ELIEZER SAYS, SINCE THE SANCTUARY [AT JERUSALEM] WAS LAID IN RUINS [THE FEAST OF] ‘AZERETH26 [IS CONSIDERED] AS AN [ORDINARY] SABBATH, etc. Said R. Giddal b. Menashia as citing Samuel, The halachah follows the opinion of Rabban Gamaliel. And some attach this comment of R. Giddal b. Menashia to [the following Baraitha]: ‘Any infant up to thirty days old is carried out in arms27 and buried by one woman and two men, but not by one man and two women.28

(1) According to older editions and MS.M. V. D.S. p. 78. n. מ R. Johanan in our text is corrupt. V. Tosaf. s.v. בעא. V. also Hyman, ‘Toledoth, 653a who cites A.Z. 16b.
(2) When Nadab and Abihu died on the day of their induction.
(3) Lev. X, 6.
(4) An abbreviated form of R. Ephraim.
(5) אבל רבתי Major (tractate) on Mourning mentioned again infra 26b, identified with Sem. Reference is also made to a ‘Minor Tractate on Mourning’ — אבל זוטורתי by Salomo beli Hajathom (SBH) in his Commentary on M.K. (ed. H. P. Chajes, 1909, p. 125) who saw both at Rome. V. Strack's Einleitung in Talmud und Midrash (5th ed., 1921, p. 73, c).
(6) A liter: his membrum virile, as per talionem.
(7) Abbreviation used as a word of the rules that follow. P = Pri'ath ha-Rosh (unveiling of the head); H = Hazarath Keran’ (turning of rent). Z = Zekifath ha-mittah (tilting up the couch); N = Ne'ilath Ha-sandal (donning sandals); T = Tashmish ha-mittah (Use of conjugal bed); R = Rehizath yadaim etc. (washing hands etc.).
(8) Ct infra n. 5.
(9) Opinion differed considerably on this also in Palestine. V. J.M.K. III, 5. Cf. n. 7 infra.
(10) On the Sabbath, and therefore the variation in honour of the Sabbath is not so marked after all.
(11) At the moment of death, or on first hearing the sad news.
(12) Samuel is speaking of the customs in Babylon where many Arabs had come to settle in constant streams from Arabia.
(13) That is, drawing the mantle together so as to enfold the forehead above and the chin and mouth below, leaving only nose and eyes exposed, as a mourner is to keep silence.
(14) In regard to the differences between Rab and Samuel about uncovering the head.
(15) That he is not observing mourning on the Sabbath.
(16) On account of his great learning.
(17) Stolae.
(18) On account of his great learning.
(19) I.e., each time when their discussions are recalled.
(20) Which shows that rending is not limited to the first flush of grief.
(21) Lit., ‘re-united’, properly mended.
(22) V. Hyman Toledoth I, 116a.
(23) Heb. אונקלי, probably the Latin amiculum, an upper cloak. Cf. Becker's Gallus (E.T. ed. 4) Exctirsus II on dress, p. 436ff.
(24) A square piece of cloth worn as a kerchief.
(25) Abaye was a disciple of R. Joseph.
(26) The Feast of Weeks. V. Mishnah and notes supra 19a.
(27) Lit., ‘bosom’.
(28) For reasons of propriety. Cf. Kid. 80b.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 24b

Abba Saul says, Even by one man with two women. And they [the people] do not stand in line1 on the [immature] infant's account, nor do they [need] to recite the [usual] mourners’ benediction,2 nor tender the [usual] condolence to the mourners. An infant thirty days old is taken forth [to burial] in a case.3 R. Judah says: Not a case that is borne on the shoulder, but one that is borne in the arms; and the people stand in line1 on its account, and recite the [additional] mourners’ benediction2 and tender the [usual] condolence to the mourners. One twelve months old is taken forth [to burial] on a bier; R. Akiba says, If the infant is twelve months old and its limbs are like those of one two years old, or two years old and its limbs are like those of one twelve months old, it is carried out on a bier. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says, For any one that is taken out on a bier the public [should] show their distress;4 for any one that is not taken out on a bier the public do not [need] to show their distress. R. Eleazar says, If he is known to the public at large, the public should participate in the proceedings; if he be not known to many [of the public] they do not [need] to participate. And what is the rule in respect of making lamentation for them? R. Meir in the name of R. Ishmael says: In the case of the poor lamentation is made for a child of three and in the case of the rich for a child of five.5 R. Judah speaking in his [R. Ishmael's.] name says: With the poor [they make a lament] for children of five; with the rich for children of six. And [as for] the children of ‘elders’, they are [treated] in the same way as the children of the poor.6 Said R. Giddal b. Menashia, as citing Rab,7 The halachah is as stated by R. Judah in the name of R. Ishmael.

R. ‘Anani b. Sason8 gave a discourse at the door of the Prince9 [and said]: ‘One day [of mourning] before ‘Azereth10 [the Feast of Weeks] with [one day of] ‘Azereth count as fourteen days [out of the thirty].’ R. Ammi heard of this and was indignant saying. Is that his own view? It is what R. Eleazar [b. Pedath] said as citing R. Oshaia! R. Isaac the smith gave a discourse at the marquee11 of the Exilarch [and said]: ‘One day [of mourning] before ‘Azereth with the [one day of] ‘Azereth, count as fourteen days [out of the thirty]’. R. Shesheth heard of this and was indignant, saying, Is that his own view? It is what R. Eleazar said, as citing R. Oshaia! For R. Eleazar, citing R. Oshaia, said: Whence is derived the ruling that ‘Azereth [the Feast of Weeks] is allowed a supplementary extension to full seven days?12 From what is said: Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place He shall choose: on the Feast of Unleavened Bread and on the Feast of Weeks and on the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord thy God empty.13 Just as the Feast of Un leavened Bread has a supplementary [period] to full seven days [for the celebration offerings],14 the Feast of Weeks15 has likewise a supplementary extension [for festive offerings] of full seven days.16 R. Papa invited17 the elder R. Awia [to act as expositor] and he expounded [the theme]: ‘One day [of mourning] before New Year and New Year's Day [together] account for fourteen [out of the thirty days]’. Said Rabina, According to this, then, one day [of mourning] before ‘the Feast’ [of Tabernacles] together with the [seven days of the] festival and ‘the Eighth Day’ [of ‘Solemn Assembly’] account [together] for twenty-one [out of the thirty days of mourning]. Rabina turned up at Sura-on the Euphrates18 when R. Habiba of Sura-on-the Euphrates put the question to him: Did you, sir, say that one day19 before New Year and New Year's Day [together] account for fourteen [out of the thirty days]? — He replied, I did say that, arguing on [the basis of] Rabban Gamaliel's view.20


(1) To offer condolence to the mourners.
(2) V. Keth. 8b, foot-note.
(3) דלוסקמא (a Doric form of) **.
(4) מעציבין - פנימ - מצהיבין - פנים Cf. e.g., Gen, VI, 6; Neh. VIII, 9-10.
(5) [The grief of the poor at the loss of a child is greater than among the rich, since a child is the poor's only joy (Rashi)].
(6) For variations on the passage v. Sem. III, 2-4.
(7) Han. has, ‘As citing Samuel’.
(8) Identical with עניאל בר ששון and חנינא בר סיסי V. Zuri's שלטון הנשיאות (London, 1934) Voi I, book 3, sec. 2, pp. 36 and 142.
(9) Judah II.
(10) Pentecost, a one-day feast.
(11) Or castle.
(12) For making the prescribed ‘festive’ offering at the Temple. If one had been unable to make it on the festival itself, it may be done up to the seventh day after.
(13) Deut. XVI, 16.
(14) Cf. Hag. 9a.
(15) I.e., Azereth, though essentially a Feast of but one day.
(16) The same argument applies to the analogy with the Feast of Tabernacles which has a range of eight days; but this argument is logically questioned, as thereby the one-day Feast of Weeks would be entitled to a day more than the seven-day Feast of Mazzoth; besides, it is shown that the eighth day of Tabernacles is, by virtue of its special sacrificial tariff a distinct Feast by itself. Cf. Hag. 17a and note discussion that follows.
(17) אדבריה Lit., ‘took him along, brought or led him forward’. R. Papa, as Principal, invited him to act as Amora or Turgeman of the occasion (cf. supra p. 133, n. 10). probably on one of the two or four Sabbaths preceding a festival — שבתא דריגלא — when the theme was seasonal. Cf. Pes. 6a-b and more fully in Tosef. Meg. IV, 5: ‘And they enquire about the laws of Passover at Passover; the laws of Azereth at ‘Azereth; the laws of the Feast (of Tabernacles) at "the Feast" in the House of the Assembly (בבית הועד). And they enquire about the laws of Passover thirty days preceding the Festival’. And on the expression אדבריה v. Bez. 29a (Sonc. ed., p. III, n. 3).
(18) Cf. supra 20a, p. 127.
(19) ‘Even one hour's mourning before the festival’.
(20) V. Mishnah supra 19a.
(21) After the interment at the house of the mourners, and sometimes in the special forum on the burial ground, where the lament was held. Cf. supra 5b and the formal tendering of comfort with the first repast which followed. Cf. infra 27a. Shab. 105a (Rashi), and Keth. 8b.
(22) I.e., a couch in its normal position. J.M.K. and other texts read, ‘upright couches’, i.e., couches for both the comforters and the mourners. ‘Such was the custom; when they provided the mourners’ fare and wished to take the meal, they set up the couches erect, and after the comforters left (the house) they overturned (upset) them (again)’. V. B.M. Lewin, Otz. Ha;. IV, n. 132.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 25a

GEMARA. [NONE REND etc.] even though [the dead be] a recognized scholar.1 But then, it is taught [otherwise]: If a scholar dies, all are his near of kin?2 ‘All are his near of kin’, say you? — Rather All are like his near of kin. — All rend their clothes on his account and all bare [their shoulders] on his account and all provide a repast for those that mourn on his account in the broad space?3 — It4 is a necessary ruling where the deceased was not a scholar. But then if the deceased was a worthy person, one is [still] in duty bound to rend his clothes, as it is taught: ‘Wherefore do a person's sons and daughters die in infancy? That one should weep and mourn for a worthy person.’ — [You say]. ‘That one should weep and mourn [for a worthy person]’!5 What, levy a distress on one [in advance]?6 — Say rather, ‘Because one has not wept and mourned for a worthy person’. — ‘For7 whoever weeps and mourns for a worthy person, all his sins are forgiven him, on account of the honour he rendered to him [the deceased]’? — It is necessary8 where the deceased is not a [particularly] worthy person. But yet if one stands here, at the time of a person breathing his last, one is [also] in duty bound [to rend his clothes]. as it is taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar says, One who stands near the dying, at the time when he breathes his last, he is in duty bound to rend [his clothes]: To what is this like? To a scroll of the Law that is burnt,9 when one is in duty bound to rend [his clothes]. — It is a necessary10 ruling where one was not standing there at the time when the dying breathed his last.

When the soul of R. Safra11 went into repose, the Rabbis did not rend [their clothes] on account of him,12 since, they said, We have not learnt from him [directly].13 Said Abaye, Is it taught: ‘When a Master died’? The teaching is: ‘When a scholar dies [all are his near-of-kin]’. Besides, we repeat daily the halachic interpretations reported [in his name] at the College! The [Rabbis of the College] then took the view that what was done was done.14 Said Abaye to them, We learned: ‘If a scholar dies, as long as they are engaged in a lament for him they are in duty bound to rend [their clothes]’. They thought then of rending forthwith [their clothes].15 Said Abaye to them, [No], it is taught: ‘A scholar is honoured at the lament held [on his account].16

When the soul of R. Huna17 came to repose, they thought of Placing a scroll of the law on his bier.18 Said it. Hisda to them: Should one do for him now something that he did not countenance in his life-time? For R. Tahlifa19 said: I myself [once] saw R. Huna when he wanted to sit down on his couch, but there was a scroll of the law lying on it, so he put an inverted jar on the ground and put on it the scroll of the law. Obviously he thought that it was forbidden to sit on a couch when there was a scroll of the law lying thereon. Then the bier could not be got through the doorway20 and they thought of letting it down from the roof. Said R. Hisda, I have learnt this from himself: ‘The honour of a scholar requires that his bier should pass through the door’. They then thought of transferring him from this bed to another, but said R. Hisda to them, l have learnt thus from himself: ‘The honour of a scholar requires that he should be taken out on the first bier’. For Rab Judah, as citing Rab, said, Whence is derived the lesson that the honour of a scholar requires that he should be borne on his first bier? From what is said: And they set the ark of God on a new cart21 and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was on the hill.22 They then readied the gateway and brought it out.

R. Abba then opened [his funerary address]: ‘Our Master [said he] was worthy that the Shechinah23 should abide with him, but [the fact of his being in] Babylon prevented it’.24

Thereupon R. Nahman, son of R. Hisda — some say it was R. Hanan, son of R. Hisda — referred to [the text]: The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.25 His father tapped him with his sandal, saying to him: Have I not told you not to worry everybody [with this point]? What is meant by the [double expression] ‘Hayoh [hayah]’?26 That it had been [had come] before [he came to Babylon].

When they brought him up thither [to Palestine, for burial] people told R. Ammi and R. Assi27 that R. Huna had come. They said: ‘When we were there [in Babylon] we had not [a chance] of raising our heads because of him;28 now that we have come here he is come after us’.29 They then were told that it was his coffin that had arrived. R. Assi and R. Assi went out [to meet him]; R. Ela30 and R. Hanina did not go out. Some say, R. Ela went out, R. Hanina did not go out. What was the reason of the one who went out? According to what is taught [in the following]: ‘If a coffin is passing [on its way] from place to place they stand in a row31 on account of the deceased, and say the mourners’ benediction on account of him and also offer condolence to the mourners’. What was the reason of the one who did not go out? — According to what is taught [in the following]: ‘If a coffin is passing [on its way] from place to place, they do not stand in a row on account of it, nor say on his account the mourners’ benediction, nor [offer] condolence to the mourners’. These citations contradict one another! — This is not difficult [to explain]; the former [ruling obtains] where the body is intact; the latter where the body is not intact, and R. Huna's body was intact. Why did one not go out [to meet it]? Because he had not been fully informed of this. Then they said, Where shall we lay him to rest? [Said some, Let us lay him at the side of R. Hiyya];32 for R. Huna disseminated Torah in Israel33 and R. Hiyya had likewise disseminated Torah34 in Israel. Who will bring him into [the cave of] R. Hiyya? — Said R. Hagga ‘I shall bring him in, because I sustained [revised] my studies [before him]35 when I was but eighteen years of age, never having experienced the effects of an unchaste dream36 and he made me his attendant37 and therefore I know of his [pious] deeds. For one day the strap of his phylacteries was [accidentally] reversed,38 whereupon he sat fasting forty days’. He then brought him in [to the cave].39 Judah was laid there at the right of his father [R. Hiyya] and on his left was his [twin brother]40 Hezekiah. Said Judah to Hezekiah: ‘Rise from your place, for it is not good manners that R. Huna be left standing’. As he [Hezekiah] rose a column of fire rose with him41 . R. Hagga, seeing that, was overcome with fear, set up the coffins and came away. And the reason that he came to no harm42 [from the pillar of fire] was because he set up the coffin of R. Huna.43

When the soul of R. Hisda went to its rest they [the Collegiates] thought of placing a scroll of the law on his bier. Said R. Isaac to them: What he had disapproved of being done for his master, shall we now do to himself? They then thought that they should not stitch the rent in their garments, when R. Isaac b. Ammi said to them, It is taught:44 In the case of a Scholar, [who died] as soon as they have turned away their faces, at the rear of the bier, they [may] stitch together [the rent]’.

When the soul of Rabbah45 son of R. Huna went to its rest and [that of] R. Hamnuna, they took them [both] up thither.46

(1) חכם an ordained Rabbi.
(2) The citation is here interrupted by a question and continues after the explanation.
(3) V. p. 153. n. 8.
(4) I.e., the ruling in our Mishnah, here.
(5) Again the citation is interrupted.
(6) I.e., give one cause to weep in anticipation that some worthy person shall die and not be fittingly mourned by the punished person. Cf. Rashi, Shab. 105b.
(7) Here the citation is resumed.
(8) I.e., the ruling in our Mishnah. So MS.M. and Shab. 105b. I.e., there is no contradiction between this citation and the ruling in our Mishnah.
(9) Cf. infra 26a and Rashi Shab. 105b. The divine Law is the inner Light that guides and at death it is as if the candle has been taken out of the lantern. Cf. Prov. VI, 33; XX, 27; and Sot. 21a.
(10) V. p. 154. n. 9.
(11) A great scholar, saint and merchant who used to go to and fro between Babylon and Palestine. Cf. supra 12a; Mak. 24a.
(12) At the news of his death.
(13) I.e., we are not really of his disciples.
(14) And nothing more is to be done.
(15) Without waiting for the holding of a lament for him.
(16) And it is on that occasion that the rending is proper to take place.
(17) Rab's great disciple and his successor in 247 as Principal of Sura. He died in 297, C.E.
(18) ‘They laid a scroll of the law on his (King Hezekiah's) bier and said: This one maintained what is written in this (scroll)".’ B.K. 17b.
(19) Cf. Me. 32b, where as here MS.M., SBH and other texts read R. Helbo who often cites R. Huna's dicta.
(20) Lit., ‘the gateway’.
(21) The same that had been provided originally by the Philistines. I Sam. VI, 7ff. Cf. Elijahu Rabbah (ed. Friedmann) XXIX (XXXI) p. 157: ‘All Israel were gathered and David with them, to bring up the ark. And the halachah had been forgotten by them; said (Ahitophel) and all, The ark came from the field of the Philistines in the cart, likewise in the cart let it come (back) to the house of David’.
(22) II Sam. VI, 3.
(23) The ‘Divine Presence’.
(24) Caused it to (be otherwise for) him.
(25) Ezek. I, 3. On this point cf. Mekilta Bo, Proemium s.v. (Ed. Friedmann 1b n. 21).
(26) Taken as pluperfect.
(27) Two Babylonians who had become leading scholars in Palestine. Cf. Keth. 17b.
(28) Being aware of his superiority and seniority. Cf. Meg. 22a (bottom).
(29) They thought we were still alive.
(30) Also a Babylonian who became very famous in Palestine. Cf. supra 3a.
(31) To condole with the mourners.
(32) So MS.M.
(33) Cf. Keth. 106a.
(34) Cf. B.M. 85b. He was accounted as a second Ezra or Hillel; Suk. 20a.
(35) For the expression cf. אוקימתון מסכת פלן Hor. 10b (Sonc. ed. p, 72.) It was customary for students to revise their studies by reciting alone before their master, periodically. Cf. Ber. 11a (R. Hiyya b. Ashi I before Rab). 38b (R. Hiyya b. Abba before R. Johanan), Hul. 86b and Ker. 27a. R. Ash did so every thirty days. (M.K. 28a). Resh Lakish did every forty days. Ta'an. 8a.
(36) A night pollution, cf. Ber. 10b about Elisha as a holy man.
(37) Cf. A.Z. 37a (of R. Simlai) and 58a (of R. Elyakim). Then he (Elisha) arose and went after Elijah and ministered unto him (I Kings XIX, 21). It is not said ‘and he (Elijah) taught him’, but ‘and he (Elisha) ministered unto him’; hence they said: Greater is (practical) ministration in (connection with) Torah than the teaching (or study) thereof. Elijahu Rabbah, V (ed. Friedmann, p. 23).
(38) Cf. Men. 3a-b.
(39) Cf. B.M. 85b. Like a second Ezra or Hillel. Suk. 20a. The family cave of R. Hiyya was probably at Tiberias.
(40) Yeb. 65b.
(41) Tilted it hastily in front of the fiery column. (Rashi); or set the coffin in its place (on stones or trestles).
(42) V. J. Kii. IX, 4, where it is stated that R. Hagga was then eighty years old and his years were doubled.
(43) This R. Huna II was one of the Exilarch's family. Moreover, Rab, Hiyya's nephew, had one of his daughters married into the Exilarch's family (Hul. 92a). Furthermore, the Exilarchs of Babylon were senior and held as superior both in civil authority and descent to the Nasi in Palestine, and admitted by Rabbi himself (J. Keth. XII, 3) by R. Hiyya (and his sons). Hor. 11b (Sonc. ed. p. 81) and Sanh. 5a (Sonc. ed. p. 15.) Cf. Bacher, J.E. s.v. Exilarch V, 289a.
(44) So MS.M.
(45) Son of the above R. Huna II.
(46) To Palestine for burial.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 25b

As they came to a bridge the camels1 halted. Said a certain Arab2 to those [who accompanied the cortege], What is that?3 — They replied that the [deceased] Rabbis were doing honour to one another: one saying [as it were], ‘You, Sir, proceed first’, and the other saying, ‘You, Sir, proceed first’. Said he, [the Arab]: [In my judgment],4 it is right that [a notable the son of a notable],4 Rabbah son of R. Huna, should take precedence. The camel bearing Rabbah son of R. Huna then passed along first. The molars and teeth of that Arab fell out.5 Then a certain child opened [his funerary oration] thus:

‘A scion of ancient stock from Babylon6 came
With records of prowess in combat7 and fame;
Twice numerous pelican and bittern8 from far
Came for the ravage and ruin9 in Shinear.10
When [God] views His world with displeasure,
He seizes [great] souls in exacting measure,
Awaiting their coming as new brides, with delight
And, riding on Araboth11 in empyrean height,
He welcomes the souls of the pure and right’.12 When the soul of Rabina went Into repose, a certain orator opened [his funerary oration] thus:
‘Ye Palms, sway your heads [and deplore]
A Saint, a noble Palm13 that is no more
Who days and nights in meditation spent;
For him, day and night, let us lament.’
Said R. Ashi to Bar-Kipok,14 What would you say on such a day [about me]? He responded thus:
‘If a flame among the Cedars fall
What avails the lichen15 on the wall?16
If Leviathan17 by hook be hauled to land,
What hope have fishes of a shallow strand?
If fish in rushing stream by hook18 be caught
What death may in marshy ponds be wrought!’
Said Bar Abin19 to him: ‘[God] forfend that I should talk of "hook" or "flame" in connection with the righteous’. Then what would you say? — I should say:
‘Weep ye for the mourners
Not for what is lost:
He found him rest;
‘Tis we are let distressed’.
R. Ashi was’ offended20 with them,21 and their feet22 were turned.23 On that day [of R. Ashi's demise] they did not come to make a lament for him, and that is what R. Ashi had said: ‘Neither shall Bar-Kipok24 bare [his shoulder] nor shall Bar-Abin24 bare25 [his shoulder, for me]’.

When Raba once came to Dagleth [Tekrit],26 he said to Barabin,27 Get up and say something. He rose and said [the following]:28

When more than a ‘third’29 wadeth in water deep Remember the covenant30 and mercy keep.31 We strayed from Thee as a wayward wife;32 Leave us not: as at Marah33 save our life. R. Honin34 was a son-in-law in the Nasi's family. He had no children but he prayed for mercy and had [his wish granted]. On the day when the child was [born] unto him he himself went to his repose, and the funeral orator on that occasion opened [his lament] thus:

Joy is turned to sorrow and
Gladness linked with sadness.
When the time of joy35 came nigh
The father heaved a dying sigh:
At [the birth of] his Gracious-little-son36
The Gracious-sire's life was done.
They gave the child the name of Hanan after his father.

When the soul of R. Pedath37 went into repose, R. Isaac b. Eleazar38 opened [his address] thus: This day is as hard for Israel as the day when the sun set at noon-tide, as it is written: And it shall come to pass in that day . . . that I will cause the sun to go down at noon and I will darken the earth in the clear day. And I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation. . . as the mourning of an only so,39 And, said R. Johanan, that was the day of King Josiah's death.40

When the soul of R. Johanan went into repose R. Ami observed [on his account] the seven [days of mourning] and the thirty. Said R. Abba son of R. Hiyya b. Abba: What R. Ammi did, he did but on his own initiative;41 for thus said R. Hiyya b. Abba, as citing R. Johanan: ‘Even for his master who had taught him Wisdom42 one sits but one day’. When the soul of R. Zera43 went into repose the orator of that occasion opened [his address] thus:

‘The land of Shinear44 was his home of birth
The land of Glory45 reared her Darling46 to fame;
"Woe is me!" saith Rakath47 in lament,
For she hath lost her choicest ornament.’
When the soul of R. Abbahu went into repose the columns at Caesarea ran with tears.48 At [the death of] R. Jose49 the roof gutters at Sepphoris ran with blood. At that of R. Jacob [b. Aha],50 Stars were visible in daytime. At that of R. Assi [all cedars]51 were uprooted; [at the death of R. Samuel b. Isaac]51 all trees were uprooted. At that of R. Hiyya [b. Abba]50 fiery stones came down from the sky; at that of R. Menahem [b. Simai]50 all images were effaced52 and came to be [used] as stone rollers;53 at that of Tanhum son of R. Hiyya [of Kefar Acco]51 all human statues were torn out of their position; at that of [R. Isaac, son of R.]51 Eliashib seventy houses were broken into [by theives] at Tiberias;54 at that of R. Haninuna,55 hail stones came down from the sky; at that of Rabbah and R. Joseph the rocks of the Euphrates kissed each other;56 at that of Abaye and Raba the rocks of the Tigris kissed each other. When the soul of R. Mesharsheya went into repose the palms were laden with thorns.57

Our Rabbis taught:

(1) Which were carrying the coffins.
(2) Tayi'a, the name of an Arab tribe which came to be used for Arabs in general.
(3) What does this strange thing indicate?
(4) The bracketed words which form the reading of MS.M. are here combined with the text of cur. edtl. to bring out the import of the Arab's remarks more fully.
(5) A proverbial expression. He received the meed for his irreverence.
(6) The Babylonian Exilarchs to which Rabbah b. R. Huna belonged traced their descent to Jehoiachim, King of Judah. V. JEV, 288ff.
(7) Referring to his prowess and triumphs at the Collegiates’ discussions.
(8) An echo of Isa. XXXIV, 11; Zeph. II, 14.
(9) Cf. Isa. LI, 19 and Jer. XLVIII, 3.
(10) I.e., Babylon. Cf. Gen. XIV, 1.
(11) Ps. LXVIII, 5 is taken as ‘High-Heavens’; cf. v. 34 and Deut. XXXIII. Hoffin. Mid. Tann. ad loc. p. 221 and Hag. 12b.
(12) With this thought, cf. Midr. Tehil. on Ps. CXVI, 15: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints, a parable of a king who sent an eparchos (prefect) to a place which he directed well. Having completed his term, the king gave him another eparchia (province). In the place which he was leaving they praised him that he had directed them well, and in the place that he was entering they (also) praised him, that he was going to rule them well. Likewise, when the Holy One, blessed be He, sent a righteous man into the world to direct the age and he directed it well, on his departure from the world, people are distressed about him (leaving): for so long as the righteous man is among them he prevents tribulation from coming into the world while the Ministering Angels rejoice about his coming to abide among them. (Edition Buber, p. 478)
(13) Cf. Ps. XCII, 13.
(14) A noted orator.
(15) The hyssop is frequently associated with the cedar, the high and low in contrast. Cf. Lev. XIV, 51, 52 and I Kings V, 13. Cf. ‘And he (Solomon) spake of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall’.
(16) V. Elijahu Rabbah (ed. Fried.) XIV (XIII) p. 65.
(17) The monster fish. ‘Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a fish hook, or press down his tongue with a cord?’ Job XL, 25. Cf. Isa. XXVII, 1; Ps. CIV, 25-26.
(18) נפלה הכה Var. lec. (v. D.S. p. 86) נפלה הרבה: ‘If rushing stream run dry What water may marshy ponds supply?’ — Cf. Jer. XIV, 3: Ezek. XLVII, 11.
(19) A noted orator.
(20) Lit., ‘his mind weakened’, felt discouraged, disappointed.
(21) At their ill-chosen metaphors, such as a flame among the cedars (cf. Judg. IX, 15); hooking the Leviathan (cf. n. 5), or marshy shallows, or ‘what is lost’, implying as it were that all his life's best work, the encouragement of scholarship and the careful redaction of the Talmud, are of no lasting value.
(22) Lit., ‘knees’.
(23) I.e., they turned about and fled in confusion, ashamed of their indiscreet and almost impudent poetic effusion. For the idiomatic use of this expression, cf. R. Johanan's similar utterance in a sharp disputation with Resh Lakish who was his junior: ‘We cut off the legs of the youngster’. Me'ila 7b and also Bez. 25b. The traditional interpretation takes it literally, that they both became crippled. V. next notes.
(24) Yeb. 103a has בר קיפוף and בר אובא

(25) I.e., shall not attend my funeral nor bare their shoulder as is done at the lament of a Principal of an Academy. Cf. supra p. 140, n. 7. The traditional explanation takes the above observation as referring to their ‘lameness’ in connection with a discussion between R. Ashi and Amemar on the possibility of effecting the rite of halizah, i.e., taking off the shoe, by the levir or brother of a deceased childless husband, if he is a cripple where the malformation of his foot is such as to render it impossible to walk or don or take off a shoe, as required by Scriptural law. Deut. XXV, 5-10. According to this interpretation the translation of the sentence is: ‘Neither Bar-Kipok nor Bar-Abin are fit to submit to the rite of halizah. V. Yeb., Sonc. ed. ‘ p. 709.
(26) דגלת Tagrit, Tekrit or Tikrit
(cf. Obermeyer p. 142). It could not be here the Tigris, as Mahoza itself lay on the Tigris. Tagrit or Tekrit lies higher up on the Tigris between Mosul and Baghdad and is often mentioned in Syrian literature.
(27) It seems doubtful whether it is the same Bar-Abin as above.
(28) The following poem seems to be part of a סליחה which had been composed by Bar-Abin on the occasion of a bad flooding of the Tigris in spring time, April-May, cf. Ta'an. 14a (bottom).
(29) A third of the country is flooded. Perhaps שלישית here refers to Israel, the Jewish quarter in the town. Cf. Isa. XIX, 24 and Shab. 88a.
(30) That a flood come not again. Cf. Gen. IX, 15, 16.
(31) Cf. Hab. III, 2 and P.B. P. 65.
(32) A faithless wife was tried by water, Num. V, 22. The flooding has made the waters undrinkable and caused many deaths.
(33) Var. lec. בזכות מי מרה by virtue of the old favour at Marah's water’, or, as our text: באות מי מרה . Deliver us now miraculously as when the bitter water was healed and sweetened for our forefathers at Marah, Ex. XV, 23-25.
(34) probably pronounced Honein. He may be identical with ‘Anani b. Sason mentioned supra 24b. R. Honein is cited infra 28a.
(35) The joyous birth of the child.
(36) הנינתו (from הנינה Grace) a diminutive form (fu'ailah) i.e., ‘Little Honein’ — a play on his father's name, from הנין (graced, favoured).
(37) So MS.M. and other texts; but cur. edd. R. Johanan, which seems however incorrect.
(38) Lived and taught at Caesarea.
(39) Amos VIII, 9-10.
(40) At Megiddo. V. Ii Chron. XXXV, 23-25; Rashi on v. 25; Targum on Lam. IV, 20; infra p. 188 and Ta'an. 22b.
(41) I.e., as his personal tribute to R. Johanan; but it is not to be taken as a rule to be followed generally.
(42) I.e., Torah.
(43) A great Babylonian sage highly esteemed for his learning, piety and noble character. Cf. supra 17a; Meg. 28a (twice) and Sanah. 14a (Sonc. ed., p. 65).
(44) Babylon.
(45) Palestine. Cf. Dan. XI, 16, 41.
(46) Cf. Jer. XXXI, 19.
(47) An ancient name identified with Sepphoris or Tiberias, both the seat of the Nasi. V. Meg. 6a (top).
(48) דמעתא (instead of מיא water, sweat). So MS. M., J.A.Z. III, 1 and other texts.
(49) Jose b. Halafta. J.A.Z. ibid. names Laodicea as the place.
(50) So MS.M.
(51) MS.M. and other texts, v. J.A.Z. ibid.
(52) As he refused to look even at the image of coins. Cf. J.A.Z. ibid. ‘At the death of R. Nahum b. Simai they covered all the images, saying that as he never looked at them in his lifetime he should not see them after he fell asleep’.
(53) Cf. supra 11a.
(54) So MS.M. CC. more correctly than Nehardea of cur. edd., as J.A.Z. ibid. states it happened in Galilee and Ta'an. 23b shows this R. Isaac b. El. to have been with R. Mani of Tiberias. Besides, Nehardea had been in ruins since 259 C.E.
(55) Mentioned supra p. 158.
(56) I.e., they were thrown together, probably referring to the tier rocks which carried the bridges of the river. Cf. B.M. 86a where it is related that at Rabbah's death there arose so violent a storm that an Arab with his camel were bodily carried across the Nehar Papa canal. Cf. Obermeyer pp. 166 and 238.
(57) [According to the Meiri (Jerusalem 1937), these were figures of speech introduced by orators as the funerary orations respectively on the deaths of the above-named scholars, describing the gravity of the loss.]

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 26a

And these are rents that are not [to be] sewed up: One who rends [his clothes] for his father or mother; or his master who taught him Wisdom,1 for a Nasi, or Ab Beth din;2 or on hearing evil tidings or [hearing] God's name blasphemed, or when a scroll of the law has been burnt; or at the [sight of the ruined] cities of Judea, the Holy Temple or Jerusalem. And one rends [first] for the Temple and then enlarges [the rent] for Jerusalem.

‘For his father or mother or for his master who taught him Wisdom’. Whence derive we [these rulings]? — From what is written: And Elisha saw it and he cried: My father. my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof.3 ‘My father, my father’, that is, [to rend on the loss of] one's father or mother. ‘The chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof’, that is [for] a Master who taught one Torah. How exactly does it convey this [meaning]? — As R. Joseph rendered it [in Aramaic]: ‘My master, my master, who was better [protection] to Israel with his prayer than chariots and horsemen’.

And whence that these rents are not [to be] reunited? — From what is written [in the same passage]: And he [Elisha] took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces.3 Once it says ‘and he rent then;’, do I not know that he rent them in two [asunder]? It must be meant to teach that the severed parts ever remain rent [apart] in two.4 Said Resh Lakish to R. Johanan: Elijah [however] is alive!5 — He replied, Since it is written there ‘And he saw ‘him no more,’ he was as dead to him [to Elisha].

‘For a Nasi or Ab Beth din or on hearing evil tidings’. Whence do we derive [these rulings]? — From what is written: Then David took hold of his clothes and rent them,’ and likewise all the men that were with him. And they wailed and wept and fasted until even, for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they were fallen by the sword.6 Now ‘Saul’, that is the Nasi [Prince]; ‘Jonathan’, that is the Ab Beth din. ‘And for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel’, that refers to ‘evil tidings’ [that reached them].

Said Rab b. Shabba to R. Kahana: Might not one explain that [they did] not [rend their clothes] until [after hearing] all those misfortunes [that had then happened]?7 He replied, The repetition of ‘for’ this ‘and for’ that ‘and for’ separate the items [from one another]. Yet do we [have to] rend [clothes] on hearing evil tidings? For when they informed Samuel that King Shapur had slain twelve thousand Jews at Caesarea-Mazaca,8 he did not [then] rend his clothes? — They [the Sages] did not say [it should be done] save where the misfortune involves the larger part of the Community resembling the typical instance.9 And is it a fact that King Shapur slew Jews? For [it is reported] that King Shapur said to Samuel,10 ‘May [ill] befall me if I have ever slain a Jew!’ — For there, it was they [the Jews] that had brought it on themselves, as R. Ammi said, that the noise of the harp-strings11 about Caesarea-Mazaca burst the wall of Laodicea.12

‘[Rents] on [hearing] God's name blasphemed’.13 Whence do we derive this? — From what is written: Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was over the household and Shebna the scribe and Joah the son; of Asaph the recorder to Hezekiah with their clothes rent and told him the [blasphemous] words of Rabshakeh.14

Our Rabbis taught: ‘It makes no difference whether one hears it [himself] or hears it from another who had heard it, he is in duty bound to rend [his clothes], but the witnesses arc not in duty bound to rend [again on reporting] as they have already rent at the time they heard [the blasphemy]’. [You say], ‘as they have already rent at the time they heard [the blasphemy]’, what matters it, since they do hear it now [again in reporting]? — Do not imagine such a thing. For it is written, And it came to pass, when the King heard it, that he rent his clothes:’15 the King [we are told], rent [his clothes], but they [who reported it] did not rend [again]. And whence [do we know] that these rents are not [to be] mended? — That is learnt from a comparison16 between the ‘rending’ [here] by King Hezekiah and ‘rending’ [elsewhere].17

‘[Rents] when a scroll of the law has been burnt’. What is the source for this? — What is written: And it came to pass when Jehudi had read three or four columns that he cut it with a penknife and cast it into the fire that was in the brazier.18 What is the point of saying ‘[had read] three or four columns’? — They told [King] Jehoiakim that Jeremiah had written a book of Lamentations, [and] he said to them: What is written there? [They quoted] ‘How doth the city sit solitary’.19 — [The King] replied: I am the King.20 They then cited to him [the second verse]: She weepeth sore in the night. He replied [again]: I am the King. [They then cited the third verse]: Judah is gone into exile because of affliction. [Again he replied]: I am the King. [They continued with verse four]: The ways of Zion do mourn. I am the King [he replied]. [They continued with the fifth verse]: Her adversaries are become the head. He asked: Who said that? — [They continued with that same verse]: For the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions. Forthwith he [began to] cut out all the names of God mentioned therein and burnt them in the fire; hence it is written [in the report there]: Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the King, nor any of his servants that heard all these words,21 which implies that the [bystanders] should have rent [their clothes]. Said Abaye to R. Papa: Might it not be suggested that the reason [why they should have rent was] for hearing evil tidings?22 — He replied: [Hardly, for] were there at that time any evil tidings as yet?

Said R. Helbo, as citing R. Huna: One who witnesses a scroll of the law being torn23 is in duty bound to make two rents: one on account of the [injury to the] parchment24 and one for [the injury to] the writing, as [may be gathered] from what is said: Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after that the King had burned the roll and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah.25 ‘The roll,’ that is, the parchment and ‘and the words’, that is, the writing.26

R. Abba and R. Huna b. Hiyya were once sitting together. R. Abba got up to [go and] relieve himself. He took off his head phylactery and put it down on a pillow, when a young ostrich came and wanted to swallow it.27 Said he [R. Abba]: [If that had been swallowed] I should now have had to make two rents.28 Said the other:29 Whence do you derive this? A similar thing happened to me and I came to R. Mattenah [asking for guidance] and he had none to give me. I then came to Rab Judah and he told me: Thus said Samuel: ‘The [Rabbis] taught [that one should rend] only where [a sacred text is torn or burnt] by force majeure30 and as in the example cited’.31 ‘Or at the [sight of the ruined] cities of Judea: the Holy Temple or Jerusalem’. Whence do we learn this? — From what is written: And it came to pass the second day after he32 had slain Gedaliah and no man knew it that there come certain men from Shechem, front Shiloh and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven and their clothes rent and having cut themselves, with meal-offerings and frankincense in their hand to bring them in the house of the Lord.33 Said R. Helbo. as citing ‘Ulla of Berai who reported R. Eleazar: One who sees the cities of Judah in their [state of] ruin, recites the verse: Thy holy cities are become a wilderness,34 and rends his garment. [On seeing] Jerusalem in its [state of] ruin, one recites: Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee, is burned with fire and all our pleasant things are laid waste,35 and rends his garment.

‘He [first] makes a rent for the Holy Temple and then enlarges [the rent] for Jerusalem’. [In contrast to this] some cited [the following Baraitha]: ‘It is all the same whether one hears [that Jerusalem is fallen into ruin]36 or sees [Jerusalem in ruin he is] in duty bound to rend [his garment].36 As soon as he reaches the Scopus he rends; and he rends for the holy Temple separately and for Jerusalem separately’? — This [seeming discrepancy] is not difficult [to explain]. The former ruling obtains where he first [of all] encounters the site of the [ruined] Sanctuary37 and the latter, where he encounters Jerusalem [ruins] first [and afterwards the Sanctuary].

Our Rabbis taught: ‘And all these [rents] they may tack together,38 baste or pick up [the frayed edges]39 or with a ladderstitch, but may not reunite the edges [by a sewn seam]’.40 Said R. Hisda:

(1) I.e., Torah.
(2) V. Glos.
(3) II Kings II, 12.
(4) I.e., the two edges of the torn part remain as they are, apart. Cf supra 22b.
(5) He constantly reappears, from time to time, communing with saintly persons. Cf. B.M. 85b and Ta'an. 22a. How can this be the guiding instance for a ruling on a loss by death?
(6) II Sam. I, 11-12.
(7) The case of Saul and Jonathan.
(8) Shapur I (241-272) is said to have destroyed Caesarea-Mazaca, the capital of Cappadocia, a vital military post on the main roads leading to the East, in 260 C.E. after he defeated the Emperor Valerian. It is said that there were then four hundred thousand inhabitants. Cf. Enc. Brit. (11th ed.) IV, 943a. The date 260 however makes this statement rather difficult, as Samuel died in 252 and Papa bar Nasr of Palmyra (Odenath) destroyed Nehardea 259. The occasion must therefore have been earlier, after the murder of Gordian III at Zaitha in 244 when Philip the Arab (of Hauran) made the best terms he could with Shapur [V. Graetz MGWJ 1852, p. 512 and Hoffmann D. Mar Samuel, p. 48.]
(9) Of Saul and Jonathan.
(10) They were on very friendly terms.
(11) Played by the Jews rebelling against the Persians (Rashi).
(12) I.e., brought about the destruction of Laodicea. Laodicea Combusta lay further West.
(13) Resuming the discussion of the points quoted in the Baraitha.
(14) II Kings XVIII, 37.
(15) Ibid. XIX, 1.
(16) Gezerah shawah, v. Glos.
(17) In the case of Elisha as explained above from ‘and he rent them in two pieces’. II Kings II, 12.
(18) Jer. XXXVI, 23ff.
(19) Lam. I, 1ff.
(20) There is nothing in that verse about the King himself, but only lamentations about the city of Jerusalem.
(21) Jer. XXXVI, 24.
(22) And not for blasphemy.
(23) MS.M., Asheri and other texts read here burnt.
(24) Which is especially prepared as dedicated for a sacred text.
(25) Ibid. v. 27.
(26) So MS.M. and J.M.K.
(27) ‘R. Huna seized the bird and held it by the throat’. J.M.K. III, 7.
(28) If the ostrich had swallowed or destroyed it. for the parchment and also for the text.
(29) R. Huna b. Hiyya. In J.M.K. the names are reversed.
(30) An irresistible attack, lit., ‘by arm’.
(31) Blasphemously, as did Jehoiakim and his friends; but not when happening casually, as in this instance.
(32) Ishmael the son of Nethaniah.
(33) Jer. XLI. 4.5.
(34) Isa. LXIV, 9.
(35) Ibid. 10.
(36) Enlarged according to the version in J.M.K. III, which is merely condensed in our texts.
(37) Without somehow having caught sight of the ruins of Jerusalem on entering the city, travelling in a covered van, for instance or entering at dusk. He then rends first for the ruined Sanctuary and enlarges the rent on beholding the ruins of Jerusalem.
(38) Soon after, the next day.
(39) With a herringbone or cross stitch.
(40) Sew up permanently.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 26b

Nor may the Alexandrian1 mending [be used]. Our Rabbis taught: One who rends [his garment] in a part that had been tacked together, basted, or [the edges] picked up by cross or ladderstitch, has not discharged his duty; if in a part which had been rejoined [in a seam], he has discharged his duty. Said R. Hisda: Also [if he rent] in a part [which had been done up] with the Alexandrian mending.

Our Rabbis taught: One is allowed to turn [a garment] upside down2 and [then] completely mend the rent. R. Simeon b. Eleazar forbids complete mending of the rent. And just as the vendor [of the garment] is forbidden to reunite the rent [completely] the buyer too is forbidden to reunite it [completely] and accordingly the vendor is bound to inform the buyer of [the nature of the rent].

Our Rabbis taught: The initial rending is [to the extent of] a handbreadth,3 and any extension thereof4 is to be to the depth of three fingers: these are the words of R. Meir. R. Judah says: The initial rending is [to the extent of] three fingers and the extension may be as small as he cares.5 Said ‘Ulla, The halachah; follows R. Meir in regard to the [initial] rending and in regard to the extension, the halachah follows R. Judah. It is likewise taught: R. Jose Says. The initial rending is [to the extent of] one handbreadth and the extension may be as little as one cares.5

Our Rabbis taught: If one was informed that his father died and he rent [his garment], [then] that his son died and he added thereto, the lower [inner portion] may be reunited; the upper parts is not to be reunited; that his son died and he rent his garment, [then] that his father died and he added thereto, the upper part may be reunited [and] the lower part6 is not to be reunited. [If one was informed] that his father died, that his mother died, that his brother died, that his sister died,7 he makes one rent for all. R. Judah b. Bathyra8 says: For all [near of kin he makes] one rent; for his father and/or mother9 [he makes] another rent: because a rent made for one's father or mother is not to be added to.10 What is the reason [for this differentiation]? — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac, it is because there is no extension [of a rent] in their case.11 Samuel said: The halachah follows the view of R. Judah b. Bathyra. But did Samuel say that? Inasmuch Samuel stated that the halachah in matters of mourning is to follow the view of the [more] lenient authority!12 — The [observance13 of] mourning comes under one category and the [act of] rending14 under another [category],

To what extent does one rend [his garment]? — To [exposing his breast down to] the [region of the] navel; some say, [only] down to the [region of the] heart — Although there is no [authentic] proof on this point, there is some [Scriptural] allusion to it, as it is said: And rend your hearts and not your garments.15 Having reached to the navel, [on hearing another evil report] he moves away a space of three fingers [from the former rent] and rends [afresh]. If the forepart of his garment is become full [of rents], he turns the garment front to back and then rends [again]; if it become full [of rents] in the upper parts. he turns the garment [upside] down; but one who rends the lower part or on the sides [of the garment] has not discharged his duty, save the High Priest, who rends [his garment] below.

[On the extension rending] R. Mattenah and Mar ‘Ukba held different views and both advanced them in the names of [Abba] Samuel's father and R. Levi [b. Sisi]. One said: ‘Anytime during the seven days. one rends [anew for another bereavement] and after the seven he [merely] adds [to the first rent]’. The other said: ‘Anytime during the thirty. one rends [anew for another bereavement] and after the thirty he [merely] adds thereto’. To these statements R. Zera demurred. Now [said R. Zera], in regard to the one who says: ‘Anytime during the seven days one rends [anew for another bereavement]’,16 why [rend anew]? Because the rent may not be tacked together;17 then [in the case of a woman] in view of the Master's statement: ‘A woman [mourner] tacks the rent together forthwith’ [may she not] just as well [add even to the first rent]?17 — [No, because] there18 it is [a concession merely] out of the respect due to a woman.19 Again [said R. Zera], in regard to the one who says: ‘ Anytime during the thirty, one rends [anew for another],16 why is that? Because the rent is not to be reunited;20 then [in the case of] a rent made for a father or mother that is never to be reunited, [may he not] just as well [add to the rent]?21 — [No, because] there [also the restriction is merely] out of the deference22 due to one's father and mother.

Our Rabbis taught: One who goes forth before the dead with a garment already rent, robs the dead and the living [relatives of their due]. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says: If a man says to his friend, ‘Lend me your cloak and I shall go and visit my father who is ill’, and he went and found him already dead, he rends it and then mends the rent. After returning home he returns the cloak and compensates him for the damage done by the rent; but if he had not informed him [of his intention to visit his sick father], he must not touch it.

Our Rabbis taught: If one who is ill sustains bereavement, they should not inform him thereof, lest he thereby become distracted in mind; nor do they direct to have any garments rent in his presence and they direct the women to keep silent [from lamenting] in his presence. Children may be made to rend their clothes in order to stir up sadness and garments are also rent for a father-in-law or mother-in-law, out of deference to one's wife. R. Papa said: It is taught in the Ebel Rabbathi:23 ‘A mourner should not set an infant on his knee, because the child may amuse him and he may thereby incur censure from his fellow men’.

NOR DO THEY PROVIDE A REPAST SAVE24 [SEATED] ON UPRIGHT COUCHES.25 Our Rabbis taught: ‘One who goes to the house of a mourner, if he be on familiar terms with him, may provide the repast for him [to be taken]26 on overturned couches, but if not, he provides the repast for him [to be taken] on couches in erect position’.27

Raba suffered a misfortune and Abba b. Martha, who is the same as Abba b. Manyomi, went to the house [to provide the mourner's repast for him]. Raba sat on all upright couch while Abba b. Martha sat on an overturned one. Said Raba: How lacking in [good] sense28 is that Associate of the Rabbis!

Our Rabbis taught: One who goes from place to place [and mourning befell him while being on the road],29

(1) Neatly sewed together on the surface with the joined ends on the wrong side of the material, or darned invisibly, or a piece neatly let in. V. Tosaf. s.v. איחוי

(2) I.e. , adapting the bottom part for the neck.
(3) Four fingers, the width of the palm.
(4) on the intermediate occurrence of another bereavement.
(5) Lit., ‘whatever it be’.
(6) Of the rent made for a parent.
(7) I.e. , the news of their several deaths reached him simultaneously. J.M.K. III, 7 reads thus: ‘Even if he heard of the death of his father and mother and of his Master who had taught him wisdom, he makes one rent for all’.
(8) J.M.K. III, 7 reads: ‘R. Judah b. Tema says. ‘He makes a rent for this one separately and for that one separately: only that he does not make that for his father and that for his mother as an extension". But is not this (latter part) to the same effect as the former part? Only, what he means is, that one shall make no extension on a rent made for a father or a mother’.
(9) Note the ambiguity indicated here by ‘and/or’, that is, either (a) a separate rent for father and mother jointly, quite apart from the rent made for the other near-of-kin on that occasion; or (b) a separate rent for each, even if the news of their deaths was communicated to him at the same moment. The former interpretation (with some reservations) is accepted by Ritba. V. infra n. 1.
(10) Cf. n. 1 suf'ra. Sem. IX reads as follows: One whose father and mother died (together) makes one rent for both; R. Judah b. Tema says: He makes a rent for this one separately and a rent for this one separately.
(11) Tosaf. s.v. אמר fails to see the purport of this remark of R. Nahman b. Isaac and favours the view that the last clause (‘because a rent made. . .’) is probably a gloss (and is in fact not found in Sem. I.e.). Rabad, however, cited by Asheri, n. 71, explains the comment thus: Since a rent for a parent extends to the region of the heart (or even to the navel), any extension of it (for another sorrow) would fail to be any indication thereof, as his friends would take the enlarged rent as the sign of the mourners excessive grief for his parent.
(12) Whereas R. Judah's view is in fact stricter than the first.
(13) I.e. , the period of seven or thirty days. which begins after the interment.
(14) Which is effected at the most poignant moment of grief, at witnessing the death of a beloved (even before the interment) or at the first intelligence of it. It is a tribute to the dead.
(15) Joel II, 13.
(16) It is the last part of the quotation on which the argument turns.
(17) Within the seven days.
(18) V. supra 22b, p. 142.
(19) V. ibid. Not the law, whereas rending the garment is a duty according to the law for all, it is a tribute she owes to the dead, and like everybody else she should act in the regular way for all, i.e., rend anew.
(20) During the thirty days. V. supra p. 143.
(21) Even during the thirty days; as, even after the thirty days he would, according to the view expressed above, act like any other person according to the law and merely add to the rent a little, in tribute of the fresh loss; otherwise there is no concession in the case of a son mourning for a parent until the end of the year.
(22) Not the law; hence after thirty days he merely adds to the rent.
(23) Cf. supra p. 148, n. 10.
(24) [MS.M. omits ‘save’, v. n. 6.]
(25) For the reading. v. supra p. 154, n. I.
(26) The one who provided the mourner's would also join him at the meal.
(27) [Our Mishnah accordingly speaks of one who is not on familiar terms with the mourner. Raabad and others (v. Asheri) explain the Mishnah as referring to festival week, when in no case is the meal provided on overturned couches. As, however, no couches are overturned on festival week, the word ‘SAVE’ is redundant and on this interpretation is to be omitted, v. n. 3.]
(28) As Raba and his visitor were not on intimate terms, it was presumptuous on the part of the visitor to sit low, while Raba out of deference to the visitor sat on the couch in its normal position.
(29) So MS.M. Asheri and other texts.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 27a

if he can reduce his business affairs, he should do so, and if not, let him carry on with them [as best he may].

Our Rabbis taught: When do mourners overturn the beds? From the moment [the corpse] is taken from the house: these are the words of R. Eliezer; R. Joshua Says, From the moment that the rolling slab1 closes the tomb. It happened [when] Rabban Gamaliel the Elder2 died, as soon as he was taken out of the door of his house, R. Eliezer said to them,3 Overturn your beds. And after the ‘rolling slab’ had been placed [to close the tomb] R. Joshua said to them:3 ‘Overturn your beds’. Said they to him, ‘We have already overturned them by order of the Elder’ [R. Eliezer].

Our Rabbis taught: When do they place the beds in erect position on the [approaching] eve of the Sabbath? From the time of the evening offering4 onwards’. Said Rabbah son of Huna,5 Nevertheless he [the mourner] does not sit down on it until it gets dark, and on the termination of the Sabbath, although he may have but one day [more] to sit [in mourning] he overturns it again.6

Our Rabbis taught: One who [has to] overturn his bed, over turns not his own bed alone, but all the beds he has in the house;7 even though he has ten beds in ten places, he overturns them all.8 And even if there be five brothers one of whom died, they all overturn [their beds].9 If, however, it be a bed specially set apart for vestments,10 that one need not be overturned. A dargesh11 [couch] need not be overturned, but should be tilted up;12 Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says, [In the case of] a dargesh [it is enough if] he loosens the bolster-frame and lets it drop [down] of its own accord. What is a dargesh? — Said ‘Ulla, It is a Couch of Fortune.13 Said Rabbah to him: But then [how does that] meaning fit the ruling in reference to a king, for we learned:14 ‘[And when they provide for him the mourner's repast] all the people recline [at the repast ] on the ground while the king sits on the dargesh’.15 Is there any reason why he should now be seated on [a special couch] which he had hitherto not been able to sit on?16 To this question R. Ashi demurred, [saying]: What is this difficulty? It may be just as exceptional as eating and drinking [with the king], because heretofore they [the people] did not provide for him food and drink, whereas now [in his mourning] they do provide for him food and drink! But, if difficulty there be [in the offered explanation] it arises from what is taught: ‘There is no need to overturn a dargesh, but he [merely] tilts it up’. Now if dargesh be a ‘Couch of Fortune’ why is there no need to overturn it, surely it is taught: ‘One who [has to] overturn his bed overturns not his own bed alone but all the beds he has in his house! And what is this difficulty? Why, a dargesh is similar to a bed specially set apart for vestments,17 as it is taught [there]: ‘If it be a bed specially set apart for vestments, that need not be overturned’. But if difficulty there be [in the explanation] it is this [from what is taught there]: ‘Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says, [In the case of] a dargesh [it is enough if] he unfastens the inner bolster-frame and lets it drop [down]’. Now if you suppose that dargesh means a ‘Couch of Fortune’ , what bolster-frame is there [at all]?

When Rabin came [home from Palestine] he said, One of the Rabbis whose name is R. Tahlifa the Palestinian, who used to frequent the leather-mart, told me: What is a dargesh? It is [said he] a couch covered with a hide.18 It has also been stated: ‘R. Jeremiah said,19 In a dargesh the interlacing20 [of the girths] is on the inside; in a bed [couch] the interlacing [of the girths] is on the outside’. Said R. Jacob b. Aha as reporting R. Joshua b. Levi: The halachah follows the opinion of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.21 Also this, R. Jacob b. Ala is to have said as reporting R. Assi that where a couch has projecting lean-backs,22 it is enough if he merely tilts it up.23

Our Rabbis taught: If he slept [during the seven days] on a chair, or on a large bench for water-jugs24 or [even] on the ground. he has not discharged his duty.25 Said R. Johanan: [He has not discharged his duty] because he has not conformed to [the practice of] overturning the bed.26

Our Rabbis taught: We may sweep or strew27 [the floors] in a house of mourning and wash dishes, cups, jugs and wine-goblets28 in a house of mourning; but do not bring perfumes29 or spices into a house of mourning. But this is not [correct]? For Bar Kappara taught: One should not say a benediction for [enjoying the scent of] perfumery or spices in a house of mourning, which implies that while we do not say a benediction, they may yet be taken into the house? — That presents no difficulty: the former ruling is for the house of mourning,30 while the latter ruling is for the house of comforters.31


GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Formerly they were wont to convey [victuals] to the house of mourning, the rich in silver and gold baskets and the poor in osier baskets of peeled willow twigs, and the poor felt shamed: they therefore instituted that all should convey [victuals] in osier baskets of peeled willow twigs out of deference to the poor.

Our Rabbis taught: Formerly, they were wont to serve drinks in a house of mourning, the rich in white glass vessels and the poor in coloured glass, and the poor felt shamed: they instituted therefore that all should serve drinks in coloured glass,37 out of deference to the poor.38 Formerly they were wont to uncover the face of the rich and cover the face of the poor, because their faces turned livid in years of drought and the poor felt shamed; they therefore instituted that everybody's face should be covered, out of deference for the poor.38 Formerly. they were wont to bring out the rich [for burial] on a dargesh39 aid the poor

(1) גולל, a stone rolling in a groove to close a tomb.
(2) Rightly omitted in J. Ber. and J.M.K. (loc. cit.), as this could be only Rabban Gamaliel II (of Jabne). R. Eliezer's brother-in-law. Cf. B.M. 59b (Sonc. ed., p. 354, nn. 3 and 4.)
(3) To his wife Imma Shalom, Rabban Gamaliel's sister and others in the house. J. Ber. and J.M.K.: ‘To his disciples’.
(4) I.e., 3.30 p.m. The Minhah was a meal-offering which accompanied the ‘daily offerings’, morning and afternoon. Num. XXVIII, 5, 8.
(5) Asheri read, ‘Rabba b. ‘Ulla’.
(6) To remind him that he is still a mourner within the seven days. J.M.K. III, 5.
(7) ‘His own as well as those of his wife and children, who observe mourning in the house out of deference to him, but not those of strangers staying in the house’. Raabad, cited in Asheri.
(8) If he occupies any of those, even away from the place where the death had taken place (Asheri). Cf. Sem. XI.
(9) If they sleep in their own homes.
(10) A kind of sofa or couch like our ottomans, for clothes or coverlets; i.e., one not used for sleeping.
(11) An elaborate couch, explained and discussed below at length.
(12) To make it uncomfortable for sleeping or sitting on it.
(13) Among non-Jews. Among the Romans the lectus genialis was a symbolical, ornamental marriage-bed placed on the day of marriage in the front hall, the atrium, (as the bride's domain). ‘Genialis lectus, qui nuptiis sternitur in honorem genii’ quoted by Becker, Gallus, Excursus I (on Woman and Roman Marriage) p. 166. Cf. ibid. p. 154.
(14) Sanh. 20a.
(15) So that the king does not go down to the level of the people and sit with them.
(16) I.e., how call dargesh possibly mean a ‘Couch of Fortune’? It can only mean a couch other than the ordinary, for the king.
(17) Not for sleeping.
(18) I.e., a bedstead with a hide thrown on girths or stretched on the frame which serves as a mattress or bolster. So Han., v. Becker's Charicles, Scene VIII, n. 8 (Eng. Trans. p. 136).
(19) In J.M.K. III, 5 we have: ‘Where the interlacing (girths) are attached to the body (i.e., the frame of the bedstead itself) it is a bed; where the interlacing is not attached to the body (i.e., that the mattress-frame is a separate piece, the grabatus) it is a dargesh. Cf. further the notes on the discussion of the Mishnah.
(20) Horace's tenta cubilia.
(21) That it is enough, in the case of a dargesh, if he unfastens the inner bolsterframe and lets it drop down.
(22) נקליטי = **, lit. , ‘something to lean back on’; here are meant head-rests and the back of a couch to support the cushions as well as the poles, at the head and the foot of a bed, to support a curtain or net. Cf. Suk. 10b.
(23) To show that it is not in use and does not need to be overturned.
(24) The Roman urnariun, a low oblong bench or kitchen-table, used for keeping near to hand urns, water vessels and other earthenware utensils and out of the way of being broker. אורײני for אורנרײ is the correct rendering and this meaning of the word fits all the parallel passages.
(25) J.M.K. III, 5 explains the context: ‘If he said, I am not going to up turn the bed, for behold, I shall sleep on a bench, they do not listen to him, because he said, "I am not going to upturn the bed"; but if he said, lo, I am going to upturn the bed . . . they do listen to him’.
(26) Cf. Sem. XI, (end). ‘But they say to him, There is the Mizwah (duty) of upturning’.
(27) With sawdust or said.
(28) and ** a Lacoman earthen drinking vessel or goblet.
(29) Spices to be burnt on ‘coals’ in fumigation pans.
(30) While the corpse is still in the house; it suggests that the dead is objectionable. Cf. Baraitha on the next Mishnah.
(31) I.e., after the burial, when comforters come in to visit and condole with the mourner.
(32) ‘The mourners fare’.
(33) Tabella or tabula.
(34) Scutella.
(35) Calathus.
(36) On the cemetery after the burial, during the festival week.
(37) Tosef. Nd. IX, 17 has: ‘Then they reverted to bringing (drink) in coloured or white (glass vessels)’.
(38) MS.M. inserts: Our Rabbis taught.
(39) דרגש a tall state bed, ornamented and covered with rich coverlets. V. Targum and Kimhi on Ezek. XXIII, 41 מטה כבודה . In Lewin, Otz. Hag. No. 208 it is explained by מטה משובחת and SBH explains it by vcuaj מטה חשובה . Cf. Persius, Sat. III, 103, ‘tandemque beatulus alto Compositus lecto...,’ and at last our blessed (dead) little friend being laid out on a tall bier’. Cf. also Jos., Ant. XVII, 8, 3 (197) and War, XXXIII, 9 (671) about Herod's gorgeous bier.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 27b

on a plain bier,1 and the poor felt shamed: they instituted therefore that all should be brought out on a plain bier, out of deference for the poor. Formerly they were wont to set a perfuming-pan under [the bed of] those that died of intestinal disorders, and the living suffering from intestinal disorders felt shamed: they instituted therefore that it should be set under all [alike], out of deference to the living that suffer from intestinal disorders. Formerly they were wont to subject to [ritual] ablution all utensils that had been used by [dying] menstruants,2 and the living menstruant women felt thereby shamed: they instituted therefore that they should subject utensils used by all [dying] women alike, out of deference to the living menstruants. Formerly they were wont to subject to [ritual] ablution all utensils used by those suffering from a flux.3 while dying, and the living suffering from a flux felt shamed: they therefore instituted that they should subject to ablution utensils used by all, out of deference to the living suffering from flux.4 Formerly the [expense of] taking the dead out [to his burial] fell harder on his near-of-kin than his death so that the dead man's near-of-kin abandoned him and fled, until at last Rabban Gamaliel came [forward] and, disregarding his own dignity, came out [to his burial] in flaxen5 vestments and thereafter the people followed his lead to come out [to burial] in flaxen vestments. Said R. Papa. And nowadays all the world follow the practice of [coming out] even in a paltry6 [shroud] that costs but a zuz.

THEY SET NOT DOWN THE BIER IN THE BROADWAY. Said R. Papa,7 in the case of a scholar [who died] no regard is paid to the festival [week].8 and much less so during Hanukkah9 or Purim,10 and this ruling obtains only in his presence, but away from his presence no [lament is allowed]. But that is not [correct]? For R. Kahana did make a lament for R. Zebid of Nehardea at Pum-Nahara? — Said R. Papi,11 it was on the day of [receiving] the tidings [of his death] and that is deemed the same as in his presence.

Said ‘Ulla: [The technical meaning of] a hesped12 is [lamenting with striking] upon the breast, as it is written: [Tremble ye... strip you... and gird sackcloth upon your loins]. striking upon the breast.13 [The technical meaning of] tippuah14 is clapping one's hands [in grief], and that of killus15 is [tapping] with the foot [in mourning].

Our Rabbis taught: One who does the tapping with the foot. should not do so when wearing either sandal or boot, because of the danger.16

Said R. Johanan, As soon as the mourner nods his head,17 the comforters are no longer allowed to remain seated by him. R. Johanan said also, All are in duty bound to rise at the Presence of the Nasi,18 save a mourner, or one who feels ill. And furthermore, said R. Johanan, To all we may say19 ‘be seated’ save to a mourner or one who feels ill.20

Said Rab Judah, as citing Rab: A mourner is forbidden to eat of his own bread on the first day [of mourning].21 as the AIl-Merciful said to Ezekiel: And eat thou not the bread of men.22 Rabbah and R. Joseph alternately provided the repast to each other.

This also said Rab Judah as reporting Rab: When a person dies in town, all the townspeople are forbidden from doing work. R. Hamnuna once came to Daru-matha;23 he heard the sound of the funerary-bugle24 [and] seeing some people carrying on their work, he said: Let the people be under the shammetha [ban]! Is there not a person dead in town? They told him that there was an Association25 in the town. If so, said he to them, it is allowed you [to work]. And furthermore, Rab Judah said, as citing Rab, Whoever indulges in grief to excess over his dead will weep for another. There was a certain woman that lived in the neighbourhood of R. Huna; she had seven sons one of whom died [and] she wept for him rather excessively. R. Huna sent [word] to her: ‘Act not thus’. She heeded him not [and] he sent to her: If you need my word it is well; but if not, are you anxious to make provision26 for yet another? He [the next son] died and they all died. In the end he said to her, Are you fumbling with provision for yourself? And she died.

[Our Rabbis taught]:27 ‘Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him28 [that is], ‘Weep not for the dead’ [that is] in excess, ‘neither bemoan him’ — beyond measure. How is that [applied]? — Three days for weeping and seven for lamenting and thirty [to refrain] from cutting the hair and [donning] pressed clothes; hereafter, the Holy One, blessed be He, says, ‘Ye are not more compassionate towards him [the departed] than I’.

Weep sore for him that goeth away.28 Said Rab Judah [as reporting Rab],29 that means, Weep for him who goes [to his long home] childless.30 R. Joshua b. Levi would not go to [visit] a house of mourning save to that of one who had gone childless, for it is written [said he]: Weep sore for him that goeth away,31 for he shall return no more nor see his native country.28 R. Huna said this [verse refers to] one who committed a sinful act and repeated it again. R. Huna is here adhering to his own view, as he said: ‘As soon as a person has continued a sinful act and has repeated it, it has become unto him permissible’. [You say]. ‘Become unto him permissible’? Can you conceive such a thing? — Say rather that it has become unto him as though it were something permissible.

Said R. Levi: A mourner [during] the first three days should look upon himself as if a sword is resting between his shoulders;32 from the third to the seventh, as if it stands in the corner facing him; thereafter as if it is moving alongside him in the [broad] market place.

AND THE BIER OF WOMEN IS NEVER [SET DOWN IN THE BROADWAY] FOR THE SAKE OF PROPRIETY. Said the Nehardeans:33 This [Mishnah] was taught only

(1) Or box.
(2) A menstruant's touch defiled persons, her bed, clothes and utensils. Cf. Lev. XV, 19-24.
(3) Lev. XV, 4-12.
(4) MS.M. inserts: Our Rabbis taught.
(5) That is, dressed in linen instead of woollen expensive vestments, as had been the custom heretofore.
(6) צרדא: This is the correct reading for צרדדא a popular pronunciation of the Latin word sordida which means cheap, poorly, mean, ragged. Cf. sordidn amictus and the Latin proverb: ‘Saepe est etiam sub palliolo sordido sapientia’ (Wisdom is often hidden under a ragged cloak). Also Juv. III, 149: Si toga sordidula est etc. (If the toga is somewhat threadbare...). This meaning fits also R. Papa's statement in B.M. 51b as cheap, slightly soiled (second-hand?) clothes dealers. Cf. also Hul. 105b רוח צרדא with רוח זוהמא Shab. 82a.
(7) MS.M. and other texts read: Rabbah b. R. Huna.
(8) I.e., lament may be made for a scholar even on festival week.
(9) The Maccabean Feast of Lights beginning on the 25th of Kislev. V. I Macc. IV; II Macc. X, 1ff.
(10) V. Esth. IX, 19ff.
(11) MS.M., R. Papa.
(12) הספד
(13) Isa. XXXII, 11-12.
(14) טפוח, v. Tosaf.
(15) קלום, cf. Ezek. VI, 11.
(16) Of twisting the ankle or hurting another's foot.
(17) Thereby indicating to the comforters that they may retire, whatever his reason may be, whether his wish or necessity; he may not bid them farewell with the word ‘Peace’ — שלום
(18) At his entry.
(19) E.g., to distinguished visitors or elderly persons.
(20) As this might be taken ill, as an ominous expression wishing one to ‘be seated’ as a mourner.
(21) I.e., after the funeral.
(22) Ezek. XXIV, 17. to be taken there as having been contrary to all regular practice, and done by the prophet to convey to his hearers the magnitude of the threatening calamities.
(23) Obermeyer, p. 197 suggests that this place is identical with Darukart, in the neighbourhood of Wasit. SBH reads: Dara (N. of Nisibis).
(24) Cf. Meg. 29a (top).
(25) A collegium that attended to burials.
(26) Provision for the long way, shrouds, etc.
(27) So Han. and SBH.
(28) Jer. XXII, 10.
(29) So MS.M. and Yalkut.
(30) Cf. B.B. 116a (Sonc. ed. p. 477.)
(31) ‘Goeth away’ also means ‘to die childless’. Cf. Gen. XV, 2.
(32) Close by and ready to slay him.
(33) R. Hama, R. Nahman and Samuel. V. Sanh. 17b and A. Hyman Toledoth III, 919b.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 28a

with reference to a woman who died in childbirth,1 but [that of] other women may be set down [in the broadway]. R. Eleazar says: [The rule applies] even to other women, as it is written: And there Miriam died and was buried there,2 which shows that her death was close to her [place of] burial. R. Eleazar also said that Miriam also died by the Divine kiss [like Moses]: We interpret the expression ‘there’ [used at Miriam's death] in the same sense as that of the expression ‘there’ used of Moses.3 Wherefore then is it not said about her [that she died] by the mouth of the Lord?3 Because it would be unbecoming to say so.

Said R. Ammi, Wherefore is the account of Miriam's death4 placed next to the [laws of the] red heifer?5 To inform you that even as the red heifer afforded atonement [by the ritual use of its ashes], so does the death of tie righteous afford atonement [for the living they have left behind].

R. Eleazar said, Wherefore is [the account of] Aaron's death closely followed by [the account of the disposal of] the priestly vestments?6 [To inform you] that just as the priest's vestments were [means] to effect atonement,7 so is the death of the righteous [conducive to procuring] atonement.

Our Rabbis taught: If one die suddenly, this is [reckoned] as being ‘snatched away’; if one is ill one day and dies, that is reckoned as being hustled away; R. Hanania b. Gamaliel says, That is death by a stroke, for it is said: Son of Man, behold I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a pestilential stroke,8 and it is written [there. after], So I spoke unto the people in the morning and at even my wife died.9 After two days’ [illness], it is a rather precipitous death.10 [After] three — it is one of reproof; [after] four — it is one of rebuff [snubbing]; [after] five is the ordinary death of all men.11 (Said R. Honin: What is the text [for this]? Behold thy days are approached that thou must die.12 ‘Behold’ [accounts for] one;13 ‘thy days’ accounts for two [more]; ‘are approached’ [gives us] two [more], which makes five. ‘Behold’ makes one because the word for ‘one’ in Greek is hen.)13

‘If one dies [under]14 fifty years [old] — that is death by kareth;15 at fifty-two years — that is the death of Samuel of Ramah; at sixty — that is by the hand of Heaven’.11 (Said Mar Zutra: What is the text [for this]? Thou shalt come to thy grave in ripe age,16 as the [numerical value of the] word for ‘in ripe age’ yields sixty.) ‘At seventy, it is the death of the hoary head; at eighty it is the death of a vigorous [old man]. for it is written, The days of our years are three score and ten, or even by reason of strength four score years.17 Said Rabbah,18 From fifty to sixty years [of age]. that is death by kareth, and the reason why this has not been mentioned was out of deference to [the prophet] Samuel of Ramah. R. Joseph, on his attaining the age of sixty, made a festival day for the Rabbis [of the Academy] saying. ‘I have just passed beyond [the limit of] kareth’. Said Abaye to him: ‘Granted, Sir, that you have passed the [limit of] kareth as to years. but as to the [limit of sickening] days19 have you escaped that’? He replied: ‘Nevertheless, hold on to the half’.20 R. Huna's soul went into repose suddenly21 and the Rabbis [of the academy] were perturbed [thereat] when Zoga22 who hailed from Adiabene taught them:23 ‘What we learned applies only when one has not attained the "age of strength" [eighty] but if one has attained the "age of strength" [eighty] a sudden death is dying by the kiss’.

Raba said: [Length of] life, children and sustenance depend not on merit but [rather on] mazzal.24 For [take] Rabbah and R. Hisda. Both were saintly Rabbis; one master prayed for rain and it came, the other master prayed for rain and it came. R. Hisda lived to the age of ninety-two,25 Rabbah26 [only] lived to the age of forty. In R. Hisda's house there were held sixty marriage feasts, at Rabbah's house there were sixty27 bereavements. At R. Hisda's house there was the purest wheaten bread for dogs, and it went to waste;28 at Rabbah's house there was barley bread for human beings and that not to be had. This too, Raba said: These three requests I made of Heaven; two were granted me and one was not. [I prayed for] the scholarship of R. Huna and the wealth of R. Hisda which were granted me; but the modest disposition of Rabbah son of R. Huna,29 that was not granted me.

R. Se'orim, Raba's brother, while sitting at Raba's bedside30 saw him [Raba] going into sleep [dying],31 when he [the invalid] said to his brother: ‘Do tell him,32 Sir, not to torment me’. R. Se'orim replied: ‘Are you, Sir, not his intimate friend?’33 Said Raba: ‘Since [my] mazzal34 has been delivered [to him], he takes no heed of me’. R. Se'orim then said to the dying: ‘Do, Sir, show yourself to me [in a dream]’. He did show himself and when asked: ‘Did you, Sir, suffer [pain]?’ He replied: ‘As from the prick of the cupping instrument’.

Raba, while seated at the bedside30 of R. Nahman, saw him sinking into slumber [death].35 Said he to Raba: ‘Tell him,36 Sir, not to torment me’. Said Raba: ‘Are you, Sir, not a man esteemed?’37 Said [R. Nahman] to him, ‘Who is esteemed, who is regarded, who is distinguished [before the Angel of Death]?’ Said [Raba] to him: ‘Do, Sir, show yourself to me [in a dream]’. He did show himself. [Raba] asked him: ‘Did you suffer pain, Sir’? He replied: ‘As [little as] the taking of a hair from the milk; and were the Holy One, blessed be He, to say to me, Go back to that world as you were, I wish it not, for the dread thereof [of death] is great’.

R. Eleazar was eating some terumah [priest's holy food] when he36 showed himself to him. Said he, Am I not [in the pious act of] eating terumah and is not that designated ‘holy [meat]’?38 The [fatal] moment [thus] was past! R. Shesheth caught sight of him36 in the market place. Quoth he: ‘Do you [seize me] in the market place like a beast? Come to [the] house’! R. Ashi39 caught sight of him36 in the market place. Quoth he: ‘Grant me thirty days’ respite and I shall revise my studies, inasmuch as you say [in Heaven above]: "Happy he that cometh hither [to Heaven] bringing his learning ready with him".’40 he came [again] on the thirtieth day; quoth he, ‘What is the urgency?’ He replied: R. Huna41 b. Nathan is close on your heels42 and, ‘No sovereignty encroaches upon the sphere of another even to a hair's breadth’.

As for R. Hisda, he36 could never overcome him as his mouth was never silent from [repeating] his learning by rote. So he went and settled on the cedar tree of the Schoolhouse. The tree cracked; R. Hisda stopped [and] he overcame him.

As for R. Hiyya. he36 could not gain access to him. So one day he adopted the guise of a poor man and came and rapped at the gate, saying, ‘Bring me out some bread’. They [others] brought out some bread to him. Said he then to R. Hiyya: ‘Don't you, Sir, treat the poor kindly? Why not, Sir, [also] treat kindly this man [standing outside]?’43 He [R. Hiyya] opened the door to him,44 whereupon, showing him a fiery rod, he made him yield his soul.

(1) For obvious reasons of delicacy; they might stain their clothing and bier.
(2) Num. XX, 1, ‘There’ being repeated twice.
(3) Deut. XXXIV, 5: So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab by the mouth of the Lord. In the is passage ‘there’ could have been omitted, and in the above passage we have also a superfluous ‘there’, which suggests the Gezerah shawah, v. Glos.
(4) Num. XX, I.
(5) Ibid. XIX. It is called a ‘sin-offering’ and the ritual use of its ashes afforded the means of purification as well as the desire to sanctification.
(6) Ibid. XX, 26, 28.
(7) Lev. XVI, 4, 24, 32, 33. Cf. Zeb. 88b.
(8) Ezek. XXIV, 16.
(9) Ibid. verse 18.
(10) Cf. P5. CXVIII, 13, דהה דהיתני and XXXVI, 13.
(11) Here the quotation is interrupted.
(12) Deut. XXXI. 14.
(13) The word הן, — hen — similar in sound to ** — hen — the Greek neuter for one. The quotation is now resumed.
(14) So Sem. III, 8.
(15) ‘Cut off’ for certain sins. E.g., Lev. XVIII. V. Mak. Chapter III, 13aff. (Sonc. ed., p. 90. n. 2). Cf. Tosaf. here, s.v.
(16) Job V, 26. בכלה = 2 + 20 + 30 + 8, in letter value.
(17) Ps. XC, 10.
(18) Raba is probably more correct, as Rabbah himself died at forty.
(19) I.e., there is yet the danger of dying suddenly without any warning as cited above.
(20) Take what you get, a proverbial phrase.
(21) 297 C.E. Cf. supra 25a.
(22) Or Zawa.
(23) I.e., cited to them a Baraitha on the point.
(24) ‘Destiny’. Cf. however, Shab. 156a.
(25) Died 309 C.E.
(26) 13. Nahmani, died 330 C.E.
(27) A proverbial number. The number sixty is a Babylonian unit, e.g., the hour and minute are divided into sixty.
(28) Lit., ‘was not wanted’.
(29) Died 322 C.E.
(30) Lit., ‘in front of R.’
(31) 252 C.E.
(32) The Angel of Death.
(33) Lit., ‘a bosom friend’, cf. Sanh. III, 5. As a teacher of Torah, he is God's messenger himself. V. Mal. II, 6-7.
(34) The guardian Angel.
(35) 320 C.E.
(36) The Angel of Death.
(37) To make your appeal direct to the Angel of Death; He would surely grant your request.
(38) Cf. Num. XVIII, 11-12. If he were to die just then the terumah would be defiled which is not a correct thing to do. Besides, ‘a pious deed acts as a shield against tribulation’. Cf. Aboth. IV, 11, P.B. p. 107 (top).
(39) Var. lec. Assi.
(40) Lit., ‘in his hand’. Cf. Pes. 50a.
(41) So MS.M. V. Git. 59a and Zeb. 19a. Var. lec. R. Huna b. Hisda,
(42) I.e., waiting to succeed you.
(43) Why not yourself befriend me, this poor man, and give me the bread with your own hand?
(44) Cf. A.Z. 58a (Sonc. ed., 11. 289). Here probably to be one word גליליה ‘he pushed the door aside’; cf. גילל for a slab used for closing the entrance to a tomb.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 28b


GEMARA. What say the women [in lament]? — Said Rab:8 ‘Cry woe o'er him that is now departing! Cry woe o'er his wounds9 [and smarting]!’ Raba10 said, The women of Shoken-Zeb11 speak thus:

‘Cry woe o'er him that is departing!
Cry woe o'er his wounds and smarting!’
Raba also said, The women of Shoken-Zeb speak thus:
‘Withdraw the bone from out the pot12
And the kettles12 fill with water [hot]’.
Raba said this also: The women of Shoken-Zeb speak thus:
‘Be muffled,13 ye high mountains,
[Clouds] covering your head;
Of high lineage and grand ancestry
Came he that is dead’.
Also this said Raba: The women of Shoken-Zeb speak thus:

‘Borrow [and buy] a Milesian14 robe
To dress a free-born son;
[Give it free of charge] for
Provision left he none’.15
And furthermore said Raba: The women of Shoken-Zeb speak thus:
‘Comes hurrying and scurrying16 Tumbling aboard the ferry
And having to borrow his fare’.
Again this said Raba: The women of Shoken-Zeb speak thus:
‘Our brothers are merchants who
At the custom houses17 are searched’.
And again said Raba: The women of Shoken-Zeb speak thus:
‘This death or that death [is the end of the quest];
Our bruises are the rate of interest’.
It is taught: R. Meir was wont to say: ‘[It is written], It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for that is the end of all men and the living will lay it to heart.18 ["And the living will lay it to heart"], what is that? Things about death; if one makes lament, others will lament for him; if one assists at burial, others will bury him; if one bears the bier, others will bear him; if one raises [his voice]19 others will raise [their voice] for him’. Others read [the last]: ‘And he that raises not [himself with pride], others will raise him, as it is written: Glorify not thyself in the presence of the King and stand not in the place of great men; for better is it that it be said unto thee, Come up hither, than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince.20

Our Rabbis taught: When the sons of R. Ishmael died, four Elders went into his house to comfort him. R. Tarfon, R. Jose the Galilean, R. Eleazar b. ‘Azaria and R. Akiba. Said R. Tarfon to them: ‘Know ye, he is a great sage and erudite in homiletic exposition, let none of you break in while another is speaking’. Said R. Akiba: ‘And I be last!’ R. Ishmael opened21 [the conversation] and said: ‘His22 sins were many, his sorrowful bereavements came in close succession; he22 troubled his Masters once and a second time!’ R. Tarfon responded and said: ‘But your brethren, the whole house of Israel bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled.23 Is not this universal sorrow more due24 now [even than there]? Why, if Nadab and Abihu who had performed but one office — as it is written: And the sons of Aaron presented the blood unto him25 . . . were thus [universally mourned] — how much more clue to the sons of R. Ishmael’! R. Jose the Galilean then responded and said: It is written: And all Israel shall make lamentation for him and bury him.26 Is not more due now? Why, if Abijah Jeroboam's son who had done but one good thing — as it is written: Because in him there is found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel,26 — was mourned in such universal manner, how much more is clue to the sons of Ishmael!

What was that ‘good thing’? R. Zeira and R. Hanina b. Papa [gave different explanations]: one Saying that he left his charge [post] and went on a festive pilgrimage [to Jerusalem]; the other saying that he removed the military guards27 that his father had posted on the roads to prevent the Israelites from going on a pilgrimage [to Jerusalem].28

R. Eleazar b. ‘Azaria then responded and said: ‘Thou shalt die in peace and with the burning of thy fathers, the formaer kings that were before thee, so shall they make a burning for thee.29 Is not more clue now? Why, if Zeclekiah King of Judah who had performed but one office in having had Jeremiah lifted from the mire,30 was to be mourned thus, how much more is due to the sons of Ishmael’!

R. Akiba then responded and said: ‘In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon’.31 [On this] R. Joseph said, Had we not the [Aramaic Targum] rendering of that text, I would not have known what it said there: ‘In that time the mourning at Jerusalem will be as great as the lament over Ahab son of Omri whom Hadadrimmon son of Tabrimmon had slain32 and as the lament over Josiah son of Amon whom Pharaoh the Lame33 [Necho] had slain in the valley of Megiddon.34 Is not more due now? Why, if Ahab King of Israel who had done but one good thing — as t is written: And the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Arameans [and died at even]35 — was lamented thus how much more is due to the sons of Ishmael’!

Said Raba to Rabbah b. Mari, It is written about Zedekiah: Thou shalt die in peace;36 yet it is written [thereafter]: Moreover he [Nebuchadnezzar] put out Zedekiah's eyes?37 — He replied that R. Johanan had explained it thus, [namely] that Nebuchadnezzar died in Zedekiah's lifetime.38 Again said Raba to Rabbah b. Mari, it is written: Therefore, behold I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace;39 yet it is written [about him elsewhere]: And the archers shot at King Josiah,’ [and the King said to his servants, Have me away for I am sore wounded;40 And [on this last part] R. Judah citing Rab, commented: They riddled41 his body like a sieve! — This, too he replied, R. Johanan explained that the Temple had not been destroyed [as threatened] in his lifetime.

Said R. Johanan:42 Comforters are not permitted to say a word until the mourner opens [conversation], as it is said: So they sat down with him on the ground. . . and none spake a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.43 After this opened Job his mouth44 . . . Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite.45

Said R. Abbahu: Whence [derive we the practice] that the mourner reclines in the foremost place46 [at the mourners’ repast]? From what is said [by Job]: I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king it, the army, as one comforteth the mourners.47 ‘As one comforteth the mourners’? Does not that convey [rather] that he was [at the head in] comforting others? — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: [Not necessarily as] it is written Yenahem, it may be rendered, ‘as when one comforteth mourners’.48

Mar Zutra said: The rule might be [derived] from here:49 And prince50 be he who is embittered — distraught51 among those stretched [on couches].52 Said R. Hama b. Hanina, Whence [is derived the practice] that a bridegroom reclines in the foremost place [at the marriage feast]? From what is said: I will rejoice in the Lord . . . for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation . . . as a bridegroom that ministers in his diadem as a priest.53 Which means that just as a priest [with whom he is compared] is at the head, so is the bridegroom [placed] at the head. And whence have we this ruling about the priest himself? — From what is taught in [a Baraitha of] the School of R. Ishmael: And thou shalt sanctify him [the priest] for he offereth the bread of thy God,54 which means, [sanctify him] in every matter appertaining to hallowed things, to be first to begin,55 first to say grace, first to take a fair portion.

R. Hanina said: The dying gasps severely agitate the body

(1) For these cf. supra p. 178, nn. 7 and 8.
(2) The festival week.
(3) I.e.. what is the technical meaning of the word used in the Mishnah, which literally means chanting, singing the lamenting words.
(4) The term for chanting a dirge used in the Mishnah.
(5) Or, leads.
(6) Jer. IX, 19.
(7) Isa. XXV, 8 cited here as a comforting conclusion to the lugubrious subject of the tractate.
(8) Died 247 C.E.
(9) Cf. P5. XVIII, 5-6; CXVI, 3; Micah II, 10. Aliter: ‘loss’.
(10) Died 309 C.E. half a century after Rab, who reported the same dirge.
(11) Identified by Obermeyer. 190ff as Askun — Zefia, two places in close proximity on the eastern bank of the Tigris, a parasanq (mile) from Sikara and, higher up. Mahoza, Raba's place.
(12) Reading מככבא instead of מככא as in our text (or D.S. מבבא) which means, ‘Withdraw the bone from the molar tooth’ which gives no sense, as the dying do not suck or gnaw a bone. It has hitherto defied all explanation. It is probably a misreading of ככבא from ** or Latin cacabus a three-legged cooking pot synonymous with cucuma — קומקום — associated here with אנטיכי = ** (V. Shab. 41a) meaning: He's dead, he needs no broth; fill now the pots and kettles with hot water to wash the dead instead.
(13) Cf. supra 24a about the mourner muffling himself in his cloak and covering his head. Han. and other commentators give other various interpretations.
(14) A robe of Milesian wool was the finest. V. Classical Dictionaries.
(15) Lit., ‘has come to an end’, has run out. Give him a decent funeral.
(16) Han. has different readings to the same effect — ‘Running and tumbling comes one with a wallet...’ Cf ‘a purse of denars’. B.M. 28b (Sonc. ed., p. 176) and v. Jast. 22a.
(17) Reading אזבזגי. Cf. Kohut, Ar. Compl. III, 264 s.v. זבזגי . His correction is confirmed by SBH p. 235. Kohut appropriately refers to Shab. 32a q.v. Han. gives another reading cited in Ar. Compl. l.c.: ‘Our brothers are merchants who are tested by the goods they sell’.
(18) Eccl. VII, 2.
(19) I.e., will cry aloud in his lament. Cf. Ber. 6b.
(20) Prov. XXV, 6-7.
(21) Comforters are not to speak until the mourner has acknowledged their presence by some word addressed to them. Cf. Job II, 11-13; III, 1ff
(22) Euphemistically altered by the Scribe, instead of saying. ‘My sins etc.’ ‘I troubled...’.
(23) Lev. X, 6.
(24) Lit., ‘is not this a fortiori?’
(25) Ibid. IX, 9, while assisting their father at the ceremony of their induction into the priestly office.
(26) I Kings XIV, 13.
(27) פרסדאות or פרזדאות = praesidia. V. Ar. Compl. VI, p. 418a. Var. lec. פריסתקאות cf. **
(28) Cf. B. B., Sonc. ed. p. 499.
(29) Jer. XXXIV, 5.
(30) Cf. Ibid. XXXVIII, 6.
(31) Zech. XII, 11. The quotation is interrupted by a comment.
(32) I Kings XXII, 34f.
(33) Translation of נכה — Necho. Cf. II Sam. IV, 4; IX, 3.
(34) II Kings XXIII, 29-20; II Chron. XXXV, 20ff.
(35) I Kings XXII, 35. The good deed consisted in the wounded king being propped up so as not to discourage the fighting men and not to give the enemy an advantage.
(36) Jer. XXXIV, 5.
(37) Ibid. XXXIX, 7.
(38) I.e., Zedekiah had the satisfaction to outlive his captor.
(39) II Kings XXII, 20 addressed to King Josiah.
(40) Il Chron. XXXV, 23.
(41) Taking the word החליתי (I have been made ill) as if it were from חלל (I am pierced, holed). Cf Num. XIX, 16. J. Kid. I, 7 adds: ‘They riddled him with three hundred arrows’,
(42) D.S., Han., Asheri and others have: Said Rab Judah, as citing Rab.
(43) Job. II, 13.
(44) Ibid. III, 1.
(45) Ibid. IV, 1.
(46) On the table etiquette of the ancients, both in Palestine and in Babylon, v. Ber. 46b, where both R. Naliman b. Isaac and Mar Zutra mentioned here are among the persons taking part in the discussion on this point.
(47) Job XXIX, 25. Possibly R. Abbahu and Mar Zutra (mentioned next) read into the terms ‘chief’ and ‘king’ the popular, familiar usage of these terms in Latin and Greek, by which they designated the person presiding over the toasts at the end of a feast, the rex convivii, basileus, or symposiarch. The following citation from Sem. XIV, (end), will make it clear: ‘Ten cups (toasts) they drink in the house of mourning; two before the meal, five during the meal and three after the meal (namely) one for the benediction of the mourners, one for comforting the mourners and one (in reference) to acts of loving-kindness (the merits of the deceased; the bearers of the biers and the orators at the funeral; cf. Sot. 14a). Then they added more cups — one (toast) for the "chief of the synagogue", one for the "administrator of the synagogue" and one to (the memory of) Rabban Gamaliel. But when the Beth din saw that some were coming away drunk they issued an inhibition (on the innovation) and made them go back to the old practice’. For considerable divergencies v. Keth. 8b. Cf. Ber. 46b. In J. Ber. III, 1 it is stated that the cup for Rabban Gamaliel had been introduced after his death. Seemingly it was introduced to commemorate his great social reform in directing the simplification of funerals. Cf. supra 27b, p. 177.
(48) Which is the equivalent of the passive ‘as when mourners are being comforted’. For other instances of this use of the third person singular in the passive sense v. Gen. XLVIII, 1-2 (someone told Joseph, one told Jacob). Cf. Gesenius, Hebrew Grammar, 144, 3a. Or, it may be pointed ינחם = as when ‘it being comforted’, i.e., when comfort is being tendered to mourners.
(49) Amos VI, 7. The rendering is here adapted to the requirements of the exposition. The prophet there threatens: Therefore now shall they (the callous revellers) go captive at the head of captives and the revelry (מרזח) of them that lay (סרוחים) stretching (on banqueting couches) shall pass away (סר). It is the three words, וסר מרזה סרוחים, in the second half of the sentence that are being strained to yield the sense required by Mar Zutra.
(50) וסר (and shall pass away) = ושר (and prince be).
(51) מרזח is divided into מר (bitter) and זה (moved, perturbed, distraught). Cf. Rashi on the parallel passage Keth. 69b. The term מרזח denotes solemn feasting, particularly a funerary repast, as seems clear from Jer. XVI, 5-8. Cf. Ar. Compl., a.v. Also, Kimhi on Jer. l.c. and on Amos, l.c.
(52) Cf. Amos VI, 4.
(53) Isa. LXI, 10.
(54) Lev. XXI, 8.
(55) The reading of the Law in the synagogue.

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 29a

like the rigging1 at the edge of the mast.2 R. Johanan said, like the top-sail3 at the edge of the mast.

R. Levi b. Hitha said: One bidding farewell to the dead should not say unto him ‘Go unto peace’, but ‘Go in peace’; one bidding farewell to the living [friend] should not say to him ‘Go in peace’. but ‘Go unto peace’. One bidding farewell to the dead should not say to him, ‘Go unto peace’, because it is said [unto Abraham]: But thou shalt go to thy fathers in Peace,’ thou shalt be buried.4 One bidding farewell to the living [friend]5 should not say to him, ‘Go in peace’, but ‘Go unto peace’, because there was David [who] said to Absalom, ‘Go in peace,6 and he went and was hanged.7 Whereas, Jethro said to Moses, ‘Go unto peace,8 [and] he went and succeeded.

And, said R. Levi:9 Whoever comes out of the Synagogue and goes into the Beth Hamidrash, or from the Beth Hamidrash to the synagogue shall gain the privilege of being admitted into the Presence of the Shechinah,10 as it is said: They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.11 R. Hiyya b. Ashi as citing Rab, said: The disciples of the Sages have no rest even in the world to come, as it is said: They go from strength to strength, every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.

(1) So Rashi here (which is not of Rashi's authorship) and on Ber. 8b. In this naval simile we need not be surprised to find the terms used to be of Greek origin, just as we have many naval terms in English of Dutch origin. צפורי in the sense of ‘rigging’ is seemingly the Greek ** = cord, rope, especially a ship's cable. The term may mean the ‘top-sail’, ** Latin, siparum and supparum, which is defined by Festus as, Velum Minus in navi ut acation (acatium) majus; (v. Lewis and Short, Lat. Dict. s.v.).
(2) װשט, connected by Rashi with תורן, (a mast) is the Greek **.
(3) פטורי is the Greek ** which means, anything suspended aloft or fluttering in mid-air, a top-mast or pennant.
(4) Gen. XV, 15.
(5) So Asheri and other texts.
(6) II Sam. XV, 9.
(7) Ibid. XVIII, 9ff.
(8) Ex. IV, 18.
(9) Ber. 64a has R. Levi b. Hiyya.
(10) The Divine Presence.
(11) Ps. LXXXIV, 8.


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