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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
from one province [on the border of Palestine and Syria] to [an adjacent] province [in Syria].1
Our Rabbis taught:2 In Palestine it is not permitted to make a profit [as middleman]3 in things which are life's necessaries, such as, for instance, wines, oils and the various kinds of flour. It has been said about R. Eleazar b. Azariah that he used to make a profit in wine and oil. In [the case of] wine he held the same opinion as R. Judah;4 in [the case of] oil? — In the place of R. Eleazar b. Azariah oil was plentiful.5
Our Rabbis taught: It is not permitted to make a profit in eggs twice. [As to the meaning of 'twice',] Mari b. Mari said: Rab and Samuel are in dispute. One says: Two for one.6 And the other says: [Selling] by a dealer to a dealer.7
Our Rabbis taught: Public prayers8 are offered for goods [which have become dangerously9 cheap], even on the Sabbath. R. Johanan said: For instance linen garments in Babylon and wine and oil in Palestine. R. Joseph said: This [is only so] when [these have become so] cheap that ten are sold at [the price of] six.10
Our Rabbis taught:11 It is not permitted to go forth from Palestine12 to a foreign country unless two se'ahs13 are sold for one sela'. R. Simeon said: [This is permitted only] when one cannot find [anything] to buy, but when one is able [to find something] to buy. even if a se'ah13 cost a sela' one must not depart. And so said R. Simeon b. Yohai: Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion were [of the] great men of their generation, and they were [also] leaders of their generation. Why, then, were they punished? Because they left Palestine for a foreign country; for it is written, And all the city was astir concerning them, and the women said: 'Is this Naomi?' What [is meant by] 'Is this Naomi?' — R. Isaac said: They said, 'Did you see what befell Naomi who left Palestine for a foreign country?'
R. Isaac further stated: On the very day, when Ruth the Moabitess came to Palestine, died the wife of Boaz. This is why people say, 'Before a person dies, the master of his house is appointed'.14
Rabbah, son of R. Huna, said in the name of Rab: Ibzan15 is Boaz. What does he come to teach us [by this statement]? — The same16 that Rabbah son of R. Huna [taught elsewhere]. For Rabbah, son of R. Huna, said in the name of Rab: Boaz made for his sons a hundred and twenty wedding feasts, for it is said, And he [Ibzan]17 had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he sent abroad, and thirty daughters he brought in from abroad for his sons; and he judged Israel seven years;18 and in the case of everyone [of these] he made two wedding feasts, one in the house of the father and one in the house of the father-inlaw. To none of them did he invite Manoah,19 [for] he said, 'Whereby will the barren mule repay me?'20 All these died in his lifetime. It is [in relation to such a case as] this that people say: 'Of what use to you are sixty; the sixty that you beget for your lifetime?21 [Marry] again22 and beget [one] brighter23 than sixty.'24
(Mnemonic sign: King Abraham, the ten years when he passed away he was exalted alone.)25
R. Hanan b. Raba said in the name of Rab: Elimelech and Salmon26 and such a one27 and the father of Naomi all were the sons of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab.28 What does he come to teach us [by this statement]? — That even the merit of one's ancestors is of no avail29 when one leaves the land [of Palestine] for a foreign country.30
R. Hanan b. Raba further stated in the name of Rab: [The name of] the mother of Abraham [was] Amathlai the daughter of Karnebo;31 [the name of] the mother of Haman was Amathlai, the daughter of 'Orabti;32 and your mnemonic [may be], 'unclean [to] unclean, clean [to] clean'.33 The mother of David was named Nizbeth the daughter of Adael. The mother of Samson [was named] Zlelponith, and his sister, Nashyan. In what [respect] do [these names] matter?34 — In respect of a reply to the heretics.35
R. Hanan b. Raba further stated in the name of Rab: Abraham our father was imprisoned for ten years. 'Three in Kutha,36 and seven in Kardu. But R. Dimi of Nehardea taught [in the reverse [order]. R. Hisda said: The small side of Kutha37 is Ur of the Chaldees.38
R. Hanan b. Raba further said in the name of Rab: On the day when Abraham our father passed away from the world all the great ones of the nations of the world, stood in a line39 and said: Woe to the world that has lost
Baba Bathra 91b
its leader and woe to the ship that has lost its pilot.1
R. Hiyya b. Abin said in the name of R. Joshua b. Korhah: God forbid [that Elimelech and his family should be condemned for leaving Palestine]; for had they found even only bran they would not have left [the country]. Why then was punishment inflicted upon them? — Because they should have begged mercy5 for their generation, and they did not do so; for it is said, When thou criest, let them that thou hast gathered deliver thee.6
Rabbah b. Bar Hana said in the name of R. Johanan: [This]7 has only been taught [in the case when] money is cheap and fruit is dear, but [when] money is dear, even if four se'ah cost [only] a sela, it is permitted to leave [the country].
(Mnemonic Sign: Sela, Workman, carob, the lads say.)8
R. Johanan further stated: I remember [the time] when workmen would not accept work on the east side of the town where workmen died from the odour of the bread.13
R. Johanan further stated: I remember [the time] when a child would break a carob pod and a line of honey would run down over both his arms. And R. Eleazar said: I remember [a time] when a raven would take [a piece of] flesh, and a line of oil would rundown from the top of the wall to the ground.
R. Johanan further stated: I remember [the time] when lads and lasses of sixteen and seventeen years of age took walks [together] in the open air and did not sin.
R. Johanan further stated: I remember [the time] when it has been said in the house of study: 'He that agrees with them14 falls into their hands; [as to him] who trusts in them, [whatever is] his [becomes] theirs'.15
[Why] has it been written, Mahlon and Chilion16 [in one place], and Joash and Saraph17 in another?18 — Rab and Samuel [explained]. One said: Their names were Mahlon and Chilion, but they were called Joash and Saraph [for this reason]: Joash,19 because they lost hope in the [messianic] redemption [of Israel;] [and] Saraph,20 because they were condemned by the Omnipresent to be burned. And the other says: Their names were Joash and Saraph, but they were called Mahlon and Chilion [for this reason]: Mahlon,21 because they profaned their bodies; and Chilion,22 because they were condemned by the Omnipresent to destruction.
There is [a Baraitha] taught in agreement with him who said that their names were Mahlon and Chilion. For it has been taught: What is [the interpretation] of the Biblical text, And Jokim, and the men of Cozeba, and Joash and Saraph, who had dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem; and the things are ancient?23 — And Jokim, is Joshua who kept24 his oath to the men of Gibeon.25 And the men of Cozeba, these are the men of Gibeon who lied to Joshua.26 And Joash and Seraph, these are Mahlon and Chilion. And why were they called Joash and Saraph? — Joash, because they lost hope27 in the [Messianic] redemption [of Israel]; Saraph, because they were condemned by the Omnipresent to be burned.28 Who had dominion in Moab, [means], they who married wives of the women of Moab. And Jashubilehem, refers to Ruth the Moabitess who returned29 and kept fast by Bethlehem30 of Judah. And the things are ancient, [means] these things were said by the Ancient of days.31
These were the potters and those that dwelt among plantations and hedges; there they dwelt occupied in the king's work.32 These were the potters, refers to the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab who kept33 the oath of their father.34 Those that dwelt among the plantations, has reference to Solomon who in his kingdom was like a [constantly flourishing] plant. And hedges, refers to the Sanhedrin35 who fenced in the breaches in Israel. There they dwelt occupied in the king's work, refers to Ruth the Moabitess who saw the kingdom of Solomon, the grandson of her grandson; for it is said: And [Solomon] caused a throne to be set up for the king's mother,'36 and R. Eleazar said, 'to the mother of the dynasty'.37
Our Rabbis taught: [It is written], And ye shall eat of the produce, the old store;38 [that is] without [the necessity for] a preservative.39 What [is the meaning of] 'without salminton'? — R. Nahman said: Without the grain worm. And R. Shesheth said: Without blast. A Baraitha has been taught in agreement with [the interpretation] of R. Shesheth, [and] a Baraitha has been taught in agreement with that of R. Nahman. In agreement with that of R. Nahman it has been taught: [It is written], and ye shall eat … the old store; one might [think that] Israel will be looking out for the new [produce] because the old40 had been destroyed [by the grain worm], therefore it is expressly said, until her produce came in, that is, until the produce will come [naturally] of itself.41 In agreement with that of R. Shesheth, it has been taught: [It is written], And ye shall eat of the produce of the old store; one might [think that] Israel will be looking out for the new [produce] because the old was spoilt42 [by the blast], therefore it is expressly said, until her produce come in, [that is] until the produce will come in the natural course.
Our Rabbis taught: [It is written], And ye shall eat old store long kept;43 [this] teaches that the older [the produce] the better [it would be].44 [From this] one infers only [concerning] things which are commonly stored away,45 whence [may one also infer] concerning things which are not commonly stored away?45 — It is explicitly stated: Old store long kept,46 [which implies] 'in all cases — [It is written]: And ye shall bring forth the old from before the new;47 [this] teaches that the storehouses would be full of old [produce]. and the threshing-floors of new, and Israel would say: 'How shall we take out one before the other!'48 R. Papa said: All things are better [when] old, except dates, beer and small fishes.49
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