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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
but the Tefillah he may not say until he covers his chest.1 R. Huna further said: If a man forgot and entered a privy while wearing his tefillin, he places his hand over them till he finishes. 'Till he finishes'? How can this be assumed? Rather it is as R. Nahman b. Isaac said: Until he finishes the first discharge. But why should he not stop at once and get up? — On account of the dictum of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, as it has been taught: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: Keeping back the faeces brings on dropsy, keeping back urine brings on jaundice.
It has been stated: If there is some excrement on a man's flesh or if his hand is inside a privy,2 R. Huna says that he is permitted to say the Shema', while R. Hisda says he is forbidden to say the Shema'. Raba said: What is the reason of R. Huna? — Because it is written, Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.3 R. Hisda says that it is forbidden to say the Shema'. What is the reason of R. Hisda? — Because it is written, All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto Thee.4
It has been stated: [If there is] an evil smell [proceeding] from some tangible source, R. Huna says that one removes [from the source of the smell] four cubits and recites the Shema'; R. Hisda says: He removes four cubits from the place where the smell ceases, and then recites the Shema'. It has been taught in accordance with R. Hisda: A man should not recite the Shema' either in front of human excrement or of the excrement of dogs or the excrement of pigs or the excrement of fowls or the filth of a dungheap which is giving off an evil smell. If, however, it is in a place ten handbreadths above him or ten handbreadths beneath him, he can sit at the side of it and recite the Shema'; otherwise he removes himself out of sight of it; and similarly for the Tefillah. [If there is] an evil smell [proceeding] from a tangible object, he removes four cubits from [the source of] the smell and recites the Shema'. Raba said: The law is not as stated in this Baraitha,5 but it has been taught in the following: A man should not recite the Shema' in front either of human excrement or excrement of pigs or excrement of dogs when he puts skins in them.6 They asked R. Shesheth: What of an evil smell which has no tangible source?7 He said to them: Come and see these mats in the school house; some sleep on them8 while others study. This, however, applies only to study,9 but not to the Shema'. And even as regards study it applies only if the smell is made by another but not if it is made by himself.
It has been stated: If manure is being carried past one, Abaye says it is permitted to recite the Shema',10 while Raba says it is forbidden to recite the Shema'. Said Abaye: Whence do I derive my opinion? Because we have learnt: If an unclean person is standing under a tree and a clean one passes by, he becomes unclean. If a clean person is standing under a tree and an unclean one passes by, he remains clean, but if he [the unclean person] stands still, he becomes unclean. And similarly with a stone smitten with leprosy.11 To which Raba can reply: In that case the deciding factor is the permanence,12 as it is written, He shall dwell alone, without the camp shall his dwelling be.13 But in this case, the All-Merciful has said, Therefore shall thy camp be holy,14 and this condition is not fulfilled.
R. Papa said: The snout of a pig is like manure being carried past. This is obvious?15 — It required to be stated, to show that it applies even if the animal is coming up from the river.
Rab Judah said: If there is a doubt about [the presence of] excrement, it is forbidden; if there is a doubt about urine, it is permitted. Some there are who say: Rab Judah said: If there is a doubt about excrement in the house, it is permitted,16 in the dungheap it is forbidden. If there is a doubt about urine, it is permitted even in the dungheap. He adopted the view of R. Hamnuna; for R. Hamnuna said: The Torah forbade the recital of the Shema' only in face of the Stream [of urine]. And this is as taught by R. Jonathan; for R. Jonathan contrasted two texts. It is written: Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad,17 and it is also written, And thou shalt have a paddle … thou shalt cover that which cometh from thee.18 How are these two statements to be reconciled? The one speaks of easing, the other of urine. This proves that urine was not forbidden by the Torah save in face of the stream only, and once it has fallen to the ground it is permitted, and it is the Rabbis who imposed a further prohibition, and when they did so, it was only in a case of certainty but not in a case of doubt. And in a case of certainty, how long is it forbidden? — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: So long as it moistens [the ground]. And so said Rabbah b. Hanah in the name of R. Johanan: So long as it moistens [the ground]. So too said 'Ulla: So long as it moistens [the ground]. Ganiba said in the name of Rab: So long as the mark is discernible. Said R. Joseph: May Ganiba be forgiven by his Master!19 Seeing that even of excrement Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab that as soon as it has dried on top it is permitted, is there any question about urine! Said Abaye to him: What reason have you for relying on this statement? Rely rather on this one which was made by Rabbah b. Bar Hanah in the name of Rab: Even if excrement is as a potsherd, it is forbidden [to recite the Shema' near it]. What is the test of its being as dry as a potsherd? — So long as one can throw it [on to the ground] and it does not break, [it is not so dry]. Some say: So long as one can roll it without breaking it.20 Rabina said: I was once standing before Rab Judah of Difti, and he saw dung and said to me, Look if the top has dried, or not. Some say that what he said to him was this: Look if it has formed cracks. What is the ultimate decision?21 It has been stated: When dung is like a potsherd, Amemar says it is forbidden and Mar Zutra says it is permitted [to say the Shema' near it]. Raba said: The law is that if dung is as dry as a potsherd it is forbidden, and in the case of urine as long as it is moistening [the ground]. An objection was raised: As long as urine is moistening [the ground] it is forbidden; if it has been absorbed [in the ground] or has dried up,22 it is permitted. Now are we not to understand that 'absorption' here is compared to 'drying', and that just as after drying there is no mark left, so after absorption there must be no mark left, and that if there is still a mark it is forbidden, even though it no longer moistens? — But adopting your line of argument, let us see the first clause: 'As long [as urine] is moistening [the ground] it is forbidden', which implies that if there is a mark it is permitted.23 — The fact is from this [Baraitha] we cannot infer [either way].
Shall we say that there is a difference of Tannaim [on this point]? [For it was taught:] If Urine has been poured out of a vessel, it is forbidden to recite the Shema' in front of that vessel. As for urine itself, if it has been absorbed in the ground it is permitted, if it has not been absorbed it is forbidden. R. Jose says: So long as it moistens the ground. Now what is meant by the 'absorbed' and 'not absorbed' mentioned by the first Tanna? Shall I say that 'absorbed' means that it does not moisten and that 'not absorbed' means that it still moistens, and R. Jose came and said that so long as it moistens it is forbidden, but if only the mark is discernible it is permitted? This is the same as the first Tanna says! We must say then that 'absorbed' means that the mark is not discernible and 'not absorbed' means that the mark is discernible, and R. Jose came and said that so long as it moistens it is forbidden, but if only the mark is discernible it is permitted? — No; both agree that so long as it moistens it is forbidden, and if only the mark is discernible it is permitted,
and here the difference between them is whether it must be wet enough to moisten something else?1
IF HE WENT DOWN [TO IMMERSE HIMSELF], IF HE IS ABLE TO COME UP etc. May we say that the Mishnah teaches anonymously the same as R. Eliezer, who said that [the Shema' may be recited] until the rising of the sun?2 You may even say that it is the same as R. Joshua,3 and perhaps [the Mishnah] means this to apply to the wathikin, of whom R. Johanan said: The wathikin used to finish the recital with the rising of the sun.4
IF NOT, HE SHOULD COVER HIMSELF WITH WATER AND RECITE. But in this case his heart sees the sexual organs? — R. Eleazar said? — or as some also say, R. Aha b. Abba b. Aha said in the name of our teacher:5 They meant this to apply to turbid water which is like solid earth, in order that his heart should not see his sexual organ.
Our Rabbis taught: If the water is clear, he may sit in it up to his neck and say the Shema'; some say, he should stir it up with his foot. On the ruling of the first Tanna, his heart sees his nakedness? — He held that if his heart sees the sexual organ it is permitted. But his heel sees his nakedness?6 — He held that if his heel sees his nakedness it is permitted. It has been stated: If his heel sees his nakedness it is permitted [to read the Shema']; if it touches, Abaye says it is forbidden and Raba says it is permitted. This is the way in which R. Zebid taught this passage. R. Hinnena the son of R. Ika thus: If it touches, all agree that it is forbidden. If it sees, Abaye says it is forbidden and Raba says it is permitted; the Torah was not given to the ministering angels.7 The law is that if it touches it is forbidden, but if it sees it is permitted.
Raba said: If one sees excrement through a glass,8 he may recite the Shema' in face of it; if he sees nakedness through a glass, he must not recite the Shema' in face of it. 'If he sees excrement through a glass he may recite the Shema' in face of it', because [the permission or otherwise] in the case of excrement depends on whether it is covered.9 'If he sees nakedness through a glass it is forbidden to recite in face of it', because the All-Merciful said, that He see no unseemly thing in thee,10 and here it is seen.
Abaye said: A little excrement may be neutralized with spittle; to which Raba added: It must be thick spittle. Raba said: If the excrement is in a hole, he may put his shoe over it and recite the Shema'. Mar the son of Rabina inquired: What is the rule if there is some dung sticking to his shoe? — This was left unanswered.
Rab Judah said: It is forbidden to recite the Shema' in face of a naked heathen. Why do you say a heathen? The same applies even to an Israelite! — In the case of an Israelite there is no question to him that it is forbidden, but this had to be stated in the case of a heathen. For you might have thought that since Scripture says of them, Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses and whose issue is as the issue of horses,11 therefore he is just like a mere ass. Hence we are told that their flesh also is called 'nakedness', as it says. And they saw not their father's nakedness.12
HE SHOULD NOT COVER HIMSELF EITHER WITH FOUL WATER OR WITH WATER IN WHICH SOMETHING HAS BEEN STEEPED UNTIL HE POURS WATER INTO IT. How much water must he go on pouring?13 — What it means is this: He must not cover himself with foul water or with water used for steeping at all, nor [may he recite in face of] urine until he pours water into it.
Our Rabbis taught: How much water must he pour into it? A few drops [are enough]. R. Zakkai says: A rebi'ith.14 R. Nahman said: Where they differ is when the water is poured in last, but if the water was there first, a few drops are sufficient.15 R. Joseph, however, said: Where they differ is if the water was there first; but if the water was poured in afterwards both agree that there must be a rebi'ith. R. Joseph once said to his attendant: Bring me a rebi'ith of water, as prescribed by R. Zakkai.
Our Rabbis taught: It is forbidden to recite the Shema' in face of a chamber pot for excrement or urine even if there is nothing in it, or in face of urine itself [if it is in another vessel] until he pours water into it. How much must he pour? A few drops. R. Zakkai says: A Rebi'ith, whether it is in front of the bed or behind the bed.16 R. Simeon b. Gamaliel says: If it is behind the bed, he may recite the Shema', if it is in front of the bed he may not recite, but he must remove four cubits and then recite. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: Even if the room is a hundred cubits long he should not say the Shema' in it until he takes it away or places it under the bed. The question was asked: How did he [R. Simeon b. Gamaliel] mean? That if it is behind the bed he may recite at once and that if it is in front of the bed he must remove four cubits and then recite? Or did he perhaps mean it this way, that if it is behind the bed he removes to a distance of four cubits, but if it is in front of the bed he does not recite at al? — Come and hear, for it has been taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: If it is behind the bed he may recite at once, if it is in front of the bed he removes four cubits. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel Says: Even in a room a hundred cubits long he should not recite until he takes it out or puts it under the bed. Our question has been answered, but there is a contradiction between the Baraitha? — Reverse the [names in] the second one. What reason have you for reversing the second one? Why not reverse the first? — Who is recorded to have said that the whole room is like four cubits? R. Simeon b. Eleazar.17
R. Joseph said: I asked R. Huna as follows: There is no question in my mind that a bed with legs less than three handbreadths long is reckoned as being attached to the soil.18 What of one with legs four, five, six, seven, eight or nine handbreadths long? — He replied: I do not know. About ten I was certain and did not need to ask. Said Abaye: You did well not to ask; ten handbreadths constitutes a different domain.19 Raba said: The law is that less than three is regarded as attached to the soil, ten constitutes a different domain, from ten to three is what R. Joseph asked R. Huna about and he did not decide it for him. Rab said: The halachah follows R. Simeon b. Eleazar. So too said Bali in the name of R. Jacob the son of the daughter of Samuel:20 The halachah follows R. Simeon b. Eleazar. Raba, however, said: The halachah does not follow R. Simeon b. Eleazar.
R. Ahai contracted a match for his son with the house of R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Marta. He brought him into the bridal chamber but it was not a success.21 He went in after him to look, and saw a scroll of the Torah lying there. He said to them:22 Had I not come now, you would have endangered the life of my son, for it has been taught: It is forbidden to have marital intercourse in a room in which there is a scroll of the Law or tefillin, until they are taken out or placed in one receptacle inside of another. Abaye said: This rule applies only to a receptacle which is not meant for them, but if the receptacles are specially meant for them, ten are no better than one. Raba said: A covering
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