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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
Rab 'Anan, however, was not acquainted with this Baraitha,1 and as to Samuel's dictum, how could he infer from it that, the field not being sold, the money was to be returned? Perhaps, though the field was not sold, the money was to be regarded as a gift, on the analogy of a man who affiances his sister, in regard to which it has been stated. 'If a man affiances his sister,2 Rab says that the [betrothal] money is to be returned, while Samuel says that it is to be regarded as a gift'.
Said Abaye to R. Joseph: Why should you want us to penalise the purchaser?3 Let us penalise the vendor! — He replied. It is not the mouse that is the thief but the hole. If there were no mouse, he retorted, how should the hole come by it? — It is only reasonable that where the forbidden stuff is found,4 there we should impose the penalty.
A certain slave escaped from abroad to Eretz Israel and was pursued by his master. The [latter eventually] came before R. Ammi, who said to him, Let him make you out a bond for his value, and you must make out a deed of emancipation for him; otherwise I will make you forfeit him in accordance with the view of R. Ahi son of R. Josiah. For it has been taught: '[It is written], They shall not dwell in thy land lest they make thee sin against me, etc.5 Shall I say that the text speaks of a heathen who has undertaken not to practise idolatry? [This cannot be, because] it is written, Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant which is escaped from his master unto thee.6 What is to be done with him? He shall dwell with thee etc.'7 R. Josiah found it difficult to accept this explanation, because instead of 'from his master' it should be 'from his father'.8 Therefore R. Josiah explained the verse to speak of a man who sells his slave abroad. R. Ahi son of R. Josiah in turn found it difficult [to accept this explanation], because instead of 'which is escaped unto thee' it should be 'which is escaped from thee.' R. Ahi son of R. Josiah therefore explained the verse to speak of a slave who escapes from abroad to Eretz Israel.9
Another [Baraitha] taught: 'Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant': Rabbi says that the verse is speaking of a man who buys a slave on the understanding that he will emancipate him.10 How are we to understand this? — R. Nahman b. Isaac said: He makes out a deed in these terms: 'When I buy you, you shall be regarded as having been your own master [retrospectively] from now.
A slave of R. Hisda's escaped to the Cutheans. He sent word to them that they should return him. They quoted to him in return the verse, 'Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant'.11 (He quoted to them in return, So thou shalt do with his ass and so thou shalt do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's.12 But, they retorted, it is written, 'Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a servant'?) He sent to them to say: That refers to a slave who escapes from abroad to Eretz Israel, as explained by R. Ahi son of R. Josiah. Why did he quote to them the interpretation of R. Ahi son of R. Josiah [and not rather that of Rabbi]?13 — Because this accords more with the literal meaning of the verse.14
Abaye lost an ass among Cutheans. He sent to them saying, Send it back to me. They sent to him saying, Give us a mark of identification. He sent word to then, that its belly was white. They sent him back word: Were you not Nahmani,15 we would not send it to you. Have not all asses white bellies?
MISHNAH. CAPTIVES SHOULD NOT BE REDEEMED FOR MORE THAN THEIR VALUE, TO PREVENT ABUSES.16 CAPTIVES SHOULD NOT BE HELPED TO ESCAPE, TO PREVENT ABUSES.17 RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS [THAT THE REASON IS] TO PREVENT THE ILL-TREATMENT OF FELLOW CAPTIVES.18
GEMARA. The question was raised: Does this prevention of abuses relate to the burden which may be imposed on the community or to the possibility that the activities [of the bandits] may be stimulated? — Come and hear: Levi b. Darga ransomed his daughter for thirteen thousand denarii of gold.19 Said Abaye: But are you sure that he acted with the consent of the Sages? perhaps he acted against the will of the Sages.
CAPTIVES SHOULD NOT BE HELPED TO ESCAPE, TO PREVENT ABUSES. RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS, THE REASON IS TO PREVENT THE ILL-TREATMENT OF FELLOW CAPTIVES. What practical difference does it make which reason we adopt? — The difference arises where there is only one captive.20
The daughters of R. Nahman used to stir a cauldron with their hands when it was boiling hot.21 R. 'Ilish was puzzled about it. It is written [he said], One man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those have I not found:22 and here are the daughters of R. Nahman!23 A misfortune happened to them and they were carried away captive, and he also with them. One day a man was sitting next to him who understood the language of birds. A raven came and called to him, and R. 'Ilish said to him, What does it say? It says, he replied, "'Ilish, run away, 'Ilish, run away". He said, The raven is a false bird, and I do not trust it. Then a dove came and called. He again asked, What does it say? It says, the man replied, "'Ilish, run away, 'Ilish run, away." Said ['Ilish]: The community of Israel is likened to a dove;24 this shows that a miracle will be performed for me. He then [said to himself], I will go and see the daughters of R. Nahman; if they have retained their virtue, I will bring them back. Said he to himself: Women talk over their business in the privy. He overheard them saying, These men are [our] husbands just as the Nehardeans [were] our husbands. Let us tell our captors to remove us to a distance from here, so that our husbands may not come and hear [where we are] and ransom us. R. 'Ilish then rose and fled, along with the other man. A miracle was performed for him, and he got across the river,25 but the other man was caught and put to death. When the daughters of R. Nahman came back, he said, They stirred the cauldron by witchcraft.
MISHNAH. NEITHER SHOULD SCROLLS OF THE LAW, PHYLACTERIES AND MEZUZOTH26 BE BOUGHT FROM HEATHENS AT MORE THAN THEIR VALUE,
TO PREVENT ABUSES.1
GEMARA. R. Budia said to R. Ashi: [The Mishnah says that] they must not be bought at more than their value, but [presumably] they may be bought at their value. This would show that a scroll of the Law which is found in the possession of a heathen may be read?2 — Perhaps it can be bought to be stored away. R. Nahman said: We have it on tradition that a scroll of the Law which has been written by a Min3 should be burnt, and one written by a heathen should be stored away. One that is found in the possession of a Min should be stored away; one that is found in the possession of a heathen according to some should be stored away and according to others may be read. With regard to a scroll of the Law which has been written by a heathen, it has been taught by one authority that it should be burnt, and it has been taught by another authority that it should be stored away, and it has been taught by another authority that it may be read. There is, however, no contradiction. The view that it should be burnt follows R. Eliezer, who said that the intention of the heathen is normally idolatrous;4 the view that it should be stored away follows the Tanna of the following passage: For R. Hamnuna the son of Raba of Pashrunia learnt that a scroll of the Law, phylacteries and mezuzoth written by a Min,5 an informer, a heathen, a slave, a woman, a minor, a Cuthean6 and an irreligious Jew7 are disqualified, since it says. And thou shalt bid them … and thou shalt write them,8 which indicates that those who are subject to 'bind' may 'write', but those who do not 'bind' may not 'write'. The statement that such a scroll may be read follows the Tanna [of the following passage] where it has been taught: Scrolls of the Law may be bought from heathens in all places, provided only that they are written in the prescribed manner. A case arose of a heathen in Sidon who used to write scrolls of the Law, and Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel permitted them to be bought from him.9 Seeing that Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel requires the tanning of the parchment to have been for the specific purpose,10 will he not require the writing to have been for the specific purpose? For it has been taught: If a man overlays the phylacteries with gold or covers them with the skin of an unclean animal, they are disqualified; [if with] the skin of a clean animal, they are fit for use, even though he did not tan it for the specific purpose. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says: Even if covered with the skin of a clean animal they are disqualified unless it has been tanned for the specific purpose!11 — Rabbah b. Samuel explained that [the heathen of Sidon was] a proselyte who had reverted to his previous errors.12 But that is worse, for he is a Min?13 R. Ashi said: It means one who reverted to his old religion out of fear.14
An Arab woman brought a bag of phylacteries to Abaye. Let me have them, he said, at a couple of dates for a pair. She became furious and took them and threw them into the river. Said Abaye: I should not have made them look so cheap to her as all that.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN DIVORCES HIS WIFE BECAUSE OF ILL FAME, HE MUST NOT REMARRY HER.17 IF BECAUSE SHE MAKES A VOW,18 HE MUST NOT REMARRY HER. R. JUDAH SAYS: [IF HE DIVORCES HER] FOR VOWS WHICH SHE MADE PUBLICLY, HE MAY NOT REMARRY HER, BUT IF FOR VOWS WHICH SHE DID NOT MAKE PUBLICLY, HE MAY REMARRY HER.19 R. MEIR SAYS, [IF HE DIVORCES HER] FOR A VOW WHICH REQUIRES THE INVESTIGATION OF A SAGE,20 HE MAY NOT REMARRY HER, BUT IF FOR ONE WHICH DOES NOT REQUIRE THE INVESTIGATION OF A SAGE, HE MAY REMARRY HER.21 R. ELIEZER SAYS THAT ONE WAS ONLY FORBIDDEN ON ACCOUNT OF THE OTHER. R. JOSE SON OF R. JUDAH SAID: A CASE HAPPENED IN SIDON OF A MAN WHO SAID TO HIS WIFE, KONAM,22 IF I DO NOT DIVORCE YOU, AND HE DID DIVORCE HER,23 AND THE SAGES PERMITTED HIM TO REMARRY HER — ALL THIS TO PREVENT ABUSES.24
GEMARA. R. Joseph b. Manyumi said in the name of R. Nahman: The rule [that he must not remarry her] applies only if he says to her, 'I am divorcing you on account of your evil name',
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