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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 73a

Why does he not say: Between R. Simeon1  and the Rabbis? — He intimates in this way that R. Menahem b. Jose was of the same opinion as R. Simeon.2



GEMARA. TOREN7  is the mast; for so it is written: They have taken cedars8  from Lebanon to make masts9  for thee.10  NES7  is the sail; for so it is written: Of fine linen with richly woven work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign.11  [As to] OGEN,7  R. Hiyya taught: These are its anchors; for so it is written: Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? Would ye shut yourselves off12  for them and have no husbands?13

AND ALL THE IMPLEMENTS NEEDED FOR DIRECTING IT — R. Abba said: This refers to the oars;14  for so it is written: Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars.15  And if you desire, you may infer it5  from the following text: And all that handle the oar shall come down from their ships.16

Our Rabbis taught: He who sells a ship sells [implicitly] its wooden implements17  and its [sweet water] tank. R. Nathan says: He who sells a ship sells implicitly its buzith.18  Symmachus says: He who sells a ship sells [implicitly] its dugith.19  Raba said: Buzith and dugith are the same: R. Nathan, the Babylonian, called it Buzith, as they say [in Babylon]' the Buziatha20  of Maisan';21  while Symmachus. who was a Palestinian, called it Dugith, for so it is written: And your residue [shall be taken away] in fishing boats.22

Rabbah said: Seafarers told me:23  The wave that sinks a ship appears with a white fringe of fire at its crest, and when stricken with clubs on which is engraven. 'I am that I am,24  Yah, the Lord of Hosts, Amen, Amen, Selah', it subsides,

Rabbah said: Seafarers told me: There is a distance of three hundred parasangs25  between one wave and the other, and the height of the wave is [also] three hundred parasangs. 'Once,' [they related], 'we were on a voyage, and the wave lifted us up so high that we saw the resting place of the smallest star, and there was a flash as if one shot forty arrows of iron;26  and if it had lifted us up still higher. We would have been burned by its heat. And one wave called to the other: "My friend, have you left anything in the world that you did not wash away? I will go and destroy it." The other replied: "Go and see the power of the master [by whose command] I must not pass the sand'[of the shore even as much as] the breadth of a thread"; as it is written: Fear ye not me? saith the Lord; will ye not tremble at my presence? who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, an everlasting ordinance, which it cannot pass.27

Rabbah28  said: I saw how Hormin29  the son of Lilith30  was running on the parapet31  of the wall of Mahuza, and a rider, galloping below on horseback32  could not overtake him. Once they saddled for him two mules which stood

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Who also, according to the final conclusion arrived at, holds that they are not sanctified.
  2. Resh Lakish had this on tradition from his teacher.
  3. Lit., 'the slaves'.
  4. [H] Cf. [G].
  5. To the buyer.
  6. The ship.
  7. The Gemara now proceeds to explain [H] and [H] the Hebrew terms used in the Mishnah.
  8. Lit., 'cedar'.
  9. [H] 'mast'. The proof that toren means mast lies in the fact that masts are made from cedars or trees of similar height.
  10. Ezek. XXVII, 5.
  11. Ibid. v. 7. Ensign. Heb. [H] The Gemara regards [H] Ezek. as parallel to [H] hence sail.
  12. [H] from [H] same root as that of [H] meaning in Niph. to be shut up, to be held fast. The anchor holds the ship fast in the water.
  13. Ruth I, 13.
  14. I.e., the oars are implicitly sold together with the ship.
  15. Ezek. XXVII, 6. The Scriptural text is describing a ship and gives details of its equipment. Since oars are included in the description they must be regarded as part of the ship's equipment and are, therefore, implicitly sold together with the ship.
  16. Ezek. XXVII, 29. This verse shows the close connection between the oars and the ship. Cf. previous note.
  17. Viz., its oars, poles, ladders, etc. Heb. Iskela, [H] ([G]); Rashb. ladders (scalae).
  18. Heb. Buzith, [H] from [H] egg shaped, oval (or [H] marsh), which is attached to the bigger ship, [and into which passengers disembark on nearing the (marshy) shallows (v. Obermeyer. op. cit. pag. 201)].
  19. Heb. Dugith, [H] (from [H] to fish), which forms part of the equipment of the bigger ship.
  20. Pl. of Buzith
  21. [ Maisan (Mesene) the marshland S.E, of Babylonia intersected with shallow streams (v. Obermeyer. ibid.)].
  22. Amos IV, 2. Fishing boats, [H] 'small boats like pots' (Rashb.).
  23. The following apparent hyperboles are probably allegories on the political and social conditions of the time.
  24. Cf. Ex. III, 14.
  25. V. Glos.
  26. Cf. Kohut, Aruch. s. v. [H]. Current editions read, 'And it was like one scattering forty measures of mustard seeds', or 'and it was of the size of a field needed for forty measures etc.
  27. Jer. V, 22.
  28. Munich MS. and others read, Rabbah b. Bar Hana.
  29. Hamburg MS. and others read Hormiz (Ormuzd). Hormin is the name of a demon. Ormuzd, according to Zend Avesta, is the impersonation of the light or the good principle in nature. From the present context it appears that an evil demon is meant.
  30. Lilith, a female night demon.
  31. [H] Rashb. reads [H], 'on the pinnacles'.
  32. Lit., horse, [H] Current editions read [H] animal.

Baba Bathra 73b

on two bridges of the Rognag;1  and he jumped from one to the other, backward and forward,2  holding in his hands two cups of wine, pouring alternately2  from one to the other, and not a drop fell to the ground. [Furthermore]. it was [a stormy] day [such as that on which] they [that go down to the sea in ships] mounted up to the heaven; they went down to the deeps.3  When the government heard [of this] they put him to death.

Rabbah4  said: I saw an antelope. one day old, that was as big as Mount Tabor. (How big is Mount Tabor? — Four parasangs.)5  The length of its neck6  was three parasangs.and the resting place of its head7  was one parasang and a half. It cast a ball of excrement and blocked up the Jordan.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana further stated: I saw a frog the size8  of the Fort of Hagronia. (What is the size of the Fort of Hagronia? — Sixty houses.) There came a snake and swallowed the frog. Then came a raven and swallowed the snake, and perched9  on a tree. Imagine10  how strong was the tree. R. Papa b. Samuel said: Had I not been there I would not have believed it.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana further stated: Once we were travelling on board a ship and saw a fish in whose nostrils a parasite11  had entered.12  Thereupon, the water cast up the fish and threw it upon the shore. Sixty towns were destroyed thereby, sixty towns ate therefrom, and sixty towns salted [the remnants] thereof, and from one of its eyeballs three hundred kegs of oil were filled. On returning after twelve calendar months13  we saw that they were cutting rafters from its skeleton and proceeding to rebuild those towns.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana further stated: Once we were travelling on board a ship and saw a fish whose back was covered with sand out of which grew grass. Thinking it was dry land14  we went up and baked, and cooked, upon its back. When, however, its back was heated it turned, and had not the ship been nearby we should have been drowned.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana further stated: We travelled once on board a ship. and the ship sailed between one fin of the fish and the other for three days and three nights; it [swimming] upwards15  and we [floating] downwards.16  And if you think the ship did not sail fast enough, R. Dimi, when he came, stated that it covered sixty parasangs in the time it takes to warm a kettle of water. When a horseman shot an arrow [the ship] outstripped it. And R. Ashi said: That was one of the small sea monsters17  which have [only] two fins.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana further related: Once we travelled on board a ship and we saw a bird standing up to its ankles in the water while its head reached the sky. We thought the water was not deep18  and wished to go down to cool ourselves, but a Bath Kol19  called out: 'Do not go down here for a carpenter's axe was dropped [into this water] seven years ago and it has not [yet] reached the bottom. And this, not [only] because the water is deep but [also] because it is rapid. R. Ashi said: That [bird] was Ziz-Sadai20  for it is written: And Ziz-Sadai is with me.21

Rabbah b. Bar Hana further related: We were once travelling in the desert and saw geese whose feathers fell out on account of their fatness, and streams of fat flowed under them. I said to them: 'Shall we have a share of your flesh22  in the world to come?'23  One lifted up [its] wing,24  the other lifted up [its] leg.25  When I came before R. Eleazar he said unto me: Israel will be called to account for [the sufferings26  of] these [geese].

(Mnemonic: Like the sand of the purple blue scorpion stirred his basket.)27

Rabbah b. Bar Hana related: We were once travelling in a desert and there joined us an Arab merchant who, [by] taking up sand and smelling it [could] tell which was the way to one place and which was the way to another. We said unto him: 'How far are we from water?' He replied: 'Give me [some] sand.' We gave him, and he said unto us: 'Eight parasangs.' When we gave him again [later], he told us that we were three parasangs off. I changed it;28  but was unable [to nonplus] him.

He said unto me: 'Come and I will show you the Dead of the Wilderness.'29  I went [with him] and saw them; and they looked as if in a state of exhilaration.

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Name of a river.
  2. Lit., 'from this to that and from that to this'.
  3. Ps. CVII, 26.
  4. V. Glos.
  5. V. glos.
  6. Lit., 'stretching'; i.e., 'when stretched'.
  7. I.e., when resting on the ground.
  8. Lit., 'which was'. (14a) [Outside Nehardea, Obermeyer. p. 265]
  9. Lit., 'and went up (and) sat'.
  10. Lit., 'come and see'.
  11. Lit., 'mud-eater', 'a parasite living on fishes'.
  12. And killed the fish.
  13. Lit., 'months of the year'.
  14. One of the sea islands.
  15. I.e., against the wind.
  16. I.e., sailing with the wind.
  17. Heb. gildana [H] a small sea-monster.
  18. Lit., 'there was no water'.
  19. [H] 'heavenly echo', 'divine voice'; a lower grade of prophecy, v. Glos.
  20. [H] is rendered by the Targum (Ps. L, 11). 'the wild cock whose ankles rest on the ground and whose head reaches the sky'.
  21. Ps. L, 11. 'With me', i.e., 'with God in heaven' is assumed to be an allusion to the bird's head, which reaches the sky.
  22. Lit., 'in you'.
  23. When a feast is to be provided for the righteous.
  24. Indicating that that would be his portion in the world to come.
  25. Lit., 'flank', 'thigh'.
  26. The protracted suffering of the geese caused by their growing fatness is due to Israel's sins which delay the coming of the Messiah, or the era denoted by the expression, 'the world to come'.
  27. The mnemonic is an aid to the memorisation of the following stories told by Rabbah b. bar Hana. Sand refers to the first story where the smelling of sand by the Arab is mentioned. Purple blue occurs in the second story. Scorpion recalls the scorpions round Mount Sinai in the third story, stirred refers to the story of Korah and his sons in Gehenna in the fourth story, and basket is mentioned in the fifth and last story.
  28. Substituted the sand of one place for that of another, in order to put him to the test.
  29. [H] those Israelites who died during the forty years wanderings in the wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land. Cf. Num. XIV, 32ff.