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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
MISHNAH. ONE WHO BUYS OF ANOTHER THE [ANNUAL] ISSUE OF A DOVE-COTE MUST ALLOW THE FIRST BROOD1 TO FLY [WITH THEIR DAM].2 [IF HE BUYS THE ANNUAL] ISSUE OF A BEEHIVE, HE TAKES [THE FIRST] THREE SWARMS; AND [THE SELLER MAY THEN] EMASCULATE [THOSE REMAINING].3 [IF HE BUYS] HONEY-COMBS, HE MUST LEAVE TWO COMBS.4 [IF HE BUYS] OLIVE-TREES FOR FELLING, HE MUST LEAVE TWO SHOOTS.5
GEMARA. Has it not been taught [that the buyer must leave the] first, and the second brood?6 — R. Kahana replied: One for itself [the first brood]. one for the dam.7 But if [it is assumed that the] mother dove will be attached to the daughter dove and to the mate left with it, [let it equally be assumed that] the daughter dove also will be attached to its mother dove and to the mate left with it!8 — A mother is [always] attached to a daughter, but not so a daughter to a mother.
[IF HE BUYS] THE [ANNUAL] ISSUE OF A BEEHIVE, HE TAKES [THE FIRST] THREE SWARMS; AND [THE SELLER MAY THEN] EMASCULATE [THOSE REMAINING]. Wherewith does he emasculate them? — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: With mustard. In Palestine it has been stated, in the name of R. Jose b. Hanina: It is not the mustard that emasculates them but the excessive quantities of honey, which the bitterness in their mouths [caused by the mustard], makes them consume.9 R. Johanan said: [The buyer] takes the three swarms alternately.10 In a Baraitha it has been taught: [The buyer] takes three swarms consecutively and after that he takes them alternately.11
[IF HE BUYS] HONEY-COMBS, HE MUST LEAVE TWO COMBS etc. R. Kahana said: Honey in a beehive never loses the designation of 'food'.12 This proves that he is of the opinion that no intention13 is required. An objection was raised: [It has been taught]: Honey in a beehive is neither [regarded14 as] 'food' nor [as] 'drink'! — Abaye replied: This15 referred only to those two combs.16 Raba said: This15 is [in accordance with] R. Eliezer.
Baba Bathra 80b
For we learnt: As to beehive, R. Eliezer said: It is regarded as landed property,1 a prosbul2 may be written on the basis of it,3 and it is not subject to the laws of Levitical defilement, while in situ,4 and he who takes [honey] out of it on the Sabbath is under the obligation of [bringing] a sin-offering. But the Sages say: A prosbul may not be written on the basis of it, it is not regarded as landed property, it is subject to the laws of Levitical defilement in situ, and he who takes [honey] out of it on the Sabbath is absolved.5 R. Eleazar said: What is the reason of R. Eliezer? For it is written: And he dipped it in the honeycomb [Ya'rath];6 what is therein common between a forest and honey? But [the verse] tells you that, as [in the case of a] forest he who plucks from it on the Sabbath incurs the obligation of a sin-offering so, [in the case of] honey, he who takes some of it [from the beehive] on the Sabbath incurs the obligation of a sin offering.
An objection was raised:7 [It has been taught:] Honey that flows from one's beehive is [as regards Levitical defilement] neither food nor drink. This is quite correct according to Abaye;8 but according to Raba there is a difficulty!9 — R. Zebid replied: [The Baraitha may speak of a case such as] for instance, when the [honey] flowed into an objectionable vessel.10 R. Aha b. Jacob said: [It may deal with such a case] as when [the honey] flowed upon chips.11
An objection was raised:12 [It has been taught]: Honey in one's beehive is neither food nor drink.13 [If, however, the owner] intended [to use] it as food, it is subject to [the laws of the Levitical] defilement of food; [if] as drink, it is subject to [the laws of Levitical] defilement of drink. This is quite correct according to Abaye.14 but according to Raba there is a difficulty!15 — Raba can tell you: Explain thus: [If] he intended [to use it] as food it does not become subject to [the laws of Levitical] defilement of food [and if] as drink, it does not become subject to [the laws of Levitical] defilement of drink.16 The following Baraitha is in agreement with R. Kahana's opinion: Honey in a beehive is subject to [the laws of Levitical] defilement [even if] there was no intention [to use it for human consumption].17
[IF HE BUYS] OLIVE TREES FOR FELLING, HE MUST LEAVE TWO SHOOTS. Our Rabbis have taught: He who buys a tree from his friend for felling, shall leave the height of a handbreadth from the ground,18 and cut it. [If] a virgin19 sycamore [the cut must be made at no less a height than] three handbreadths. If a sycamore trunk,20 two handbreadths. In [the case of] reeds and vines, [the cut is to be made] from the knot and above it. In [the case of] palm trees and cedars he may dig and take them out with the roots, because their stumps do not grow afresh.21
Does a virgin sycamore require [as high a stump as] three handbreadths? What about the contradiction [from the following]: A virgin sycamore must not be cut in the Sabbatical year, because [cutting] is work.22 R. Judah says: [To cut] in the usual manner is prohibited, but one may [either] leave a height of ten handbreadths and cut23 or raze [the tree] at ground level.24 [From this it follows that] only at ground level is [the cut] injurious, but at any other [point]25 it is beneficial!26 — Abaye replied: [At a height of] three handbreadths [the cut] is beneficial; at ground level it is certainly injurious; at any other point27 it is neither [definitely] injurious nor [definitely] beneficial. [Consequently] in the case of the Sabbatical year. [the cut made] must be one that is unquestionably injurious;28 in the case of commercial transactions [the cut made] must be one that is unquestionably beneficial.29 [It has been said that] 'in the case of] palm trees and cedars he may dig and take them out with the roots, because their stumps do not grow afresh again.' Does not the stump of a cedar grow afresh? Surely R. Hiyya b. Lulyani gave the following exposition: It is written: The righteous shall flourish like a palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon;30 if palm-tree has been mentioned, why mention [also] the cedar, and if cedar has been mentioned, why mention [also] palm-tree? If cedar [only], had been mentioned and not palm-tree, it might have been implied that as the cedar produces no [edible] fruit, so will the righteous produce no fruit, therefore palm-tree has been mentioned. And if palm-tree had been mentioned but not cedar, it would have been implied that as the stump of the palm-tree does not grow afresh31 so the shoot32 of the righteous will not grow, therefore cedar is also mentioned!33 — The fact is that other kinds of cedar trees are spoken of; in accordance with [a statement made by] Rabah son of R. Huna who reported34 that at the college of Rab it had been stated [as follows]: There are ten kinds of cedar trees; for it is said: I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia tree and the myrtle. and the oil tree,' I will set etc.35 Erez36 means cedar, Shittah36 means pine, Hadas36 means myrtle, 'Ez Shemen36 means balsam tree, Berosh36 means cypress, Tidhar36 means teak, Uthe' ashur36 means shurbina.37 Are not these [only] seven [kinds of cedar]? — When R. Dimi came38 he said: The following were added to them: Alonim, Almonim, Almogim. Alonim are pistachio trees, Almonim are oaks, Almogim
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