Previous Folio / Berakoth Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
that one authority holds that if one stops long enough to finish the whole he goes back to the beginning, while the other holds that he goes back [in any event] to the place where he stopped?1 Said R. Ashi: In that case the statement should distinguish between whether he stopped [long enough] or did not stop.2 We must therefore say that both are agreed that if he stopped long enough to finish the whole of it he goes back to the beginning, and here they differ in regard to the case where he did not stop [so long], one holding that the man was unfit3 [to have commenced his prayers] and hence his prayer is no prayer, while the other holds that the man was [nevertheless] in a fit state [to pray] and his prayer is a valid one.
Our Rabbis taught: If a man needs to consult nature he should not say the Tefillah, and if he does, his prayer is an abomination. R. Zebid — or as some say Rab Judah — said: They meant this to apply only if he is not able to hold himself in, but if he is able to hold himself in, his prayer is a valid one. How much must he be able to hold himself in? — R. Shesheth said: Long enough to go a parasang. Some teach this statement as part of the Baraitha [just quoted], thus: When is this the case [that his prayer is an abomination]? When he cannot hold himself in; but if he can hold himself in, his prayer is valid. And how long must he be able to do so? — R. Zebid said: Long enough for him to walk a parasang.
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: One who needs to ease himself should not say the Tefillah, as it says, Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.4 R. Samuel b. Nahmani also said in the name of R. Jonathan: What is the meaning of the verse, Guard thy foot when thou goest to the house of God?5 Guard thyself so that thou shouldst not sin, and if thou dost sin, bring an offering before Me. And be ready to hearken.6 Raba said. Be ready to hearken to the words of the wise who, if they sin, bring an offering and repent. It is better than when the fools give!7 Do not be like the fools who sin and bring an offering and do not repent. For they know not to do evil,8 — if that is the case, they are righteous? — What it means is: Do not be like the fools who sin and bring an offering and do not know whether they bring it for a good action or a bad action. Says the Holy One, blessed be He: They do not distinguish between good and evil, and they bring an offering before Me. R. Ashi, — or, as some say, R. Hanina b. Papa — said: Guard thy orifices9 at the time when thou art standing in prayer before Me.
Our Rabbis taught: One who is about to enter a privy should take off his tefillin at a distance of four cubits and then enter. R. Aha son of R. Huna said in the name of R. Shesheth: This was meant to apply only to a regular privy,10 but if it is made for the occasion, he takes them off and eases himself at once, and when he comes out he goes a distance of four cubits and puts them on, because he has now made it a regular privy. The question was asked, What is the rule about a man going in to a regular privy with his tefillin to make water? Rabina allowed it; R. Adda b. Mattena forbade it. They went and asked Raba and he said to them: It is forbidden, since we are afraid that he may ease himself in them, or, as some report, lest he may break wind in them. Another [Baraitha] taught: One who enters a regular privy takes off his tefillin at a distance of four cubits and puts them in the window on the side of the public way11 and enters, and when he comes out he goes a distance of four cubits and puts them on. So Beth Shammai. Beth Hillel say: He keeps them in his hand and enters. R. Akiba said: He holds them in his garment and enters. 'In his garment', do you say? Sometimes they may slip out12 and fall! — Say rather, he holds them in his hand and in his garment, and enters, and he puts them in a hole on the side of the privy, but he should not put them in a hole on the side of the public way, lest they should be taken by passers-by, and he should render himself suspect. For a certain student once left his tefillin in a hole adjoining the public way, and a harlot passed by and took them, and she came to the Beth ha-Midrash and said: See what So-and-so gave me for my hire, and when the student heard it, he went to the top of a roof and threw himself down and killed himself. Thereupon they ordained that a man should hold them in his garment and in his hand and then go in.
The Rabbis taught: Originally they used to leave tefillin in holes on the side of the privy, and mice used to come and take them. They therefore ordained that they should be put in the windows on the side of the public way. Then passers-by came and took them. So they ordained that a man should hold them in his hand and enter. R. Meyasha the son of R. Joshua b. Levi said: The halachah is that he should roll them up like a scroll13 and keep them in his right hand, opposite his heart. R. Joseph b. Manyumi said in the name of R. Nahman: He must see that not a handbreadth of strap hangs loose from his hand. R. Jacob b. Aha said in the name of R. Zera: This is the rule only if there is still time left in the day to put them on14 but if there is no time left in the day, he makes a kind of bag for them of the size of a handbreadth and puts them there.15 Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in the name of R. Johanan: In the daytime [when he enters a privy] he rolls them up like a scroll and keeps them in his hand opposite his heart, and for the night he makes a kind of bag for them of the size of a handbreadth, and puts them there. Abaye said: This rule was meant to apply only to a bag which is meant for them, but if the bag is not meant for them, even less than a handbreadth is sufficient. Mar Zutra — or as some say R. Ashi — said: The proof is that small vessels16 protect [the contents from uncleanness] in a tent of the dead.17
Rabbah b. Bar Hanah further said: When we were following R. Johanan [as disciples], when he wanted to enter a privy, if he had a book of Aggada, he used to give it to us to hold, but if he was wearing tefillin he did not give them to us, saying, since the Rabbis have permitted them18
they will protect me.1 Raba said: When we were following R. Nahman, if he had a book of Aggada he used to give it to us, but if he was wearing tefillin he did not give them to us, saying, since the Rabbis have permitted them, they will guard me.
Our Rabbis taught: A man should not hold tefillin in his hand or a scroll of the Law in his arm while saying the Tefillah,2 nor should he make water while wearing them, nor sleep in them, whether a regular sleep or a short snatch. Samuel says: A knife, money, a dish and a loaf of bread are on the same footing as tefillin.3 Raba said in the name of R. Shesheth: The law is not in accordance with this Baraitha,4 since it expresses the view of Beth Shammai. For seeing that Beth Hillel declare it permissible in a regular privy [to hold the tefillin] is there any question that they would permit it in an ad hoc privy?
An objection was raised: The things which I have permitted to you in the one place I have forbidden to you in the other. Presumably this refers to tefillin. Now if you say the Baraitha quoted follows Beth Hillel, there is no difficulty. 'l have permitted it to you in the one place' — the regular privy, 'and I have forbidden it to you in the other' — the ad hoc privy. But if you say it is Beth Shammai, they do not permit anything! — That statement5 refers to the baring of the handbreadth and two handbreadths, as one [Baraitha] taught: When a man eases himself, he may bare a hand breadth behind and two handbreadths in front, and another taught: a handbreadth behind and in front not at all. Is it not the case that both statements refer to a man, and there is no contradiction, the former referring to easing and the latter to making water? But do you think so? If for making water, why a handbreadth behind? Rather both refer to easing, and there is no contradiction, the one referring to a man and the other to a woman. If that is the case,6 what of the succeeding statement, 'This is an a fortiori which cannot be rebutted'? What is the point of 'which cannot be rebutted'? This7 is merely the natural way! We must say therefore that tefillin are referred to [in the Baraitha], and it is a refutation of what Raba said in the name of R. Shesheth. — It is a refutation. Still a difficulty remains: If it is permissible in a regular privy, how much more so in an ad hoc privy! — What it means is this: In a regular privy where there is no splashing, it is permitted; in an ad hoc privy where there is splashing,8 it is forbidden. If that is the case, how can you say, 'which cannot be rebutted'? There is an excellent refutation? — What it means is this: This9 rule is based upon a reason10 and not upon an argument a fortiori; for if we were to employ here an argument a fortiori,11 it would be one which could not be rebutted.
Our Rabbis taught: One who wishes to partake [in company] of a regular meal,12 should walk four cubits ten times or ten cubits four times and ease himself and then go in. R. Isaac said: One who wishes to [partake of] a regular meal should take off his tefillin13 and then go in. He differs from R. Hiyya; for R. Hiyya said: He places them on his table, and so it is becoming for him. How long does he leave them there? Until the time for grace.14
One [Baraitha] taught: A man may tie up his tefillin in his headgear15 along with his money, while another teaches, He should not so tie them! — There is no contradiction; in the one case he sets it aside for this purpose, in the other he does not set it aside. For R. Hisda said: If a man has [mentally] set aside a cloth to tie up tefillin in, once he has tied up tefillin in it, it is forbidden to tie up in it money; if he has set it aside but not tied up the tefillin in it, or if he has tied them up in it without setting it aside for the purpose, he may tie up money in it. According to Abaye, however, who says that mere setting aside is operative,16 once he has set it aside, even though he has not tied up tefillin in it, it is forbidden to tie up money, and if he has tied up tefillin in it, if he has set it aside it is forbidden to tie up money, but if he has not set it aside it is not forbidden.
R. Joseph the son of R. Nehunia asked Rab Judah: What is the rule about placing one's tefillin under one's pillow? About putting them under the place of his feet I have no need to ask, because that would be treating them contemptuously. What I do want to know is, what is the rule about putting them under his pillow? — He replied: Thus said Samuel: It is permitted, even if his wife is with him. An objection was raised. A man should not put his tefillin under the place of his feet, because this is treating them contemptuously, but he may place them under his pillow, but if his wife is with him this is forbidden. If, however, there is a place three handbreadths above his head or three handbreadths below,17 he may put them there. Is not this a refutation of Samuel? It is. Raba said: Although it has been taught that this is a refutation of Samuel, the law follows his opinion. What is the reason?
- To Next Folio -