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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
What should be the usual periods?1 — Rab said: One month at the college2 and one month at home; for it is said in the Scriptures, In any matter of the courses which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year.3 R. Johanan, however, said: One month at the college and two months at home; for it is said in the Scriptures, A month they were in Lebanon and two months at home.4 Why does not Rab also derive his opinion from this text?4 — The building of the holy Temple is different [from the study of the Torah] since it could be carried on by others.5 Then why does not R. Johanan derive his opinion from the former text?3 — There [the conditions were] different because every man was in receipt of relief.6
Rab said:7 A sigh breaks down half of the human constitution,8 for it is said in Scripture, Sigh, therefore, thou son of man; with the breaking of thy loins9 and with bitterness shalt thou sigh.10 R. Johanan, however, said: Even all the human constitution, for it is said in Scripture, And it shall be when they say unto thee: Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt say: Because of the tidings, for it cometh; and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be slack, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall drip with water.11 As to R. Johanan, is it not also written, 'With the breaking of thy loins'? — [The meaning of] this is that when [the breaking] begins it does so from the loins. And as to Rab, is it not also written, 'And every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be slack, and every spirit shall be faint'? — The report of the holy Temple is different since [the calamity] was very severe.
An Israelite and an idolater were once walking together on the same road and the idolater could not keep pace with the Israelite. Reminding him of the destruction of the holy Temple [the latter] grew faint and sighed; but still the idolater was unable to keep pace with him. 'Do you not say', the idolater asked him, 'that a sigh breaks half of the human body'? — 'This applies only', the other replied, 'to a fresh calamity but not to this one with which we are familiar. As people say: A woman who is accustomed to bereavements is not alarmed [when another occurs]'.
MEN OF INDEPENDENCE EVERY DAY. What is meant by tayyalin?12 — Raba replied: Day students.13 Said Abaye to him: [These are the men] of whom it is written in Scripture, It is vain for you14 that ye rise early, and sit up late, ye that eat of the bread of toil; so He giveth15 unto those who chase their sleep away;16 and 'these',17 R. Isaac explained, 'are the wives of the scholars,18 who chase the sleep from their eyes19 in this world and achieve thereby the life of the world to come',20 and yet you Say. Day students'!21 — [The explanation]. however, said Abaye, is in agreement [with a statement] of Rab who said [a man of independence is one.] for instance, like R. Samuel b. Shilath22 who eats of his own, drinks of his own and sleeps in the shadow of his mansion23 and a king's officer24 never passes his door.25 When Rabin came26 he stated: [A man of independence is one]. for instance, like the pampered men of the West,27
R. Abbahu28 was once standing in a bath house, two slaves supporting him, when [the floor of] the bath house collapsed under him.29 By chance he was near a column [upon which] he climbed30 taking up the slaves with him.31 R. Johanan was once ascending a staircase, R. Ammi and R. Assi supporting him, when the staircase collapsed under him. He himself climbed up and brought them up with him. Said the Rabbis to him, 'Since [your strength is] such, why do you require support?32 — 'Otherwise', he replied. what [strength] will I reserve for the time of my old age?'
FOR LABOURERS TWICE A WEEK. Was it not, however, taught: Labourers, once a week? — R. Jose the son of R. Hanina replied: This is no difficulty; the former33 [speaks of labourers] who do their work in their own town while the latter [speaks of those] who do their work in another town — So it was also taught: Labourers [perform their marital duties] twice a week. This applies only [to those] who do their work in their own town, but for those who do their work in another town [the time is only] once a week
FOR ASS-DRIVERS ONCE A WEEK. Rabhah son of R. Hanan34 said to Abaye: Did the Tanna35 go to all this trouble36 to teach us [merely the law relating to] the man of independence37 and the labourer?38 — The other replied: No;
FOR SAILORS, ONCE IN SIX MONTHS. THESE ARE THE WORDS OF R. ELIEZER. R. Beruna8 stated in the name of Rab:9 The halachah follows R. Eliezer. R. Adda b. Ahabah, however, stated in the name of Rab: This is the view of R. Eliezer only. but the Sages ruled: Students may go away to study Torah without the permission [of their wives even for] two or three years.10
Raba stated: The Rabbis11 relied on R. Adda b. Ahabah12 and act accordingly at the risk of [losing] their lives.13 Thus R. Rehumi who was frequenting [the school] of Raba at Mahuza14 used to return home on the Eve of every Day of Atonement. On one occasion15 he was so attracted by his subject [that he forgot to return home]. His wife was expecting [him every moment, saying.] 'He is coming soon,16 he is coming soon'16 As he did not arrive she became so depressed that tears began to flow from her eyes. He was [at that moment] sitting on a roof. The roof collapsed under him and he was killed.17
That bringeth forth its fruit in its season,20 Rab Judah, and some say R. Huna, or again. as others say. R. Nahman, stated: This [refers to the man] who performs his marital duty every Friday night.21
Judah22 the son of R. Hiyya and son-in-law of R. Jannai was always spending his time23 in the school house but every Sabbath eve24 he came home. Whenever he arrived the people saw25 a pillar of light moving before him. Once he was so attracted by his subject of study [that he forgot to return home]. Not Seeing26 that Sign. R. Jannai said to those [around him], 'Lower27 his bed,28 for had Judah been alive he would not have neglected the performance of his marital duties'. This [remark] was like an error that proceedeth from the ruler,29 for [in consequence] Judah's30 soul returned to its eternal rest.
Rabbi was engaged in the arrangements for the marriage of his son into the family of R. Hiyya,31 but when the kethubah32 was about to be written the bride passed away.33 'Is there, God forbid', said Rabbi, 'any taint [in the proposed union]?'34 An enquiry was instituted35 into [the genealogy of the two] families [and it was discovered that] Rabbi descended from Shephatiah36 the son of Abital37 while R. Hiyya descended from Shimei a brother of David.38
Later39 he40 was engaged in preparations for the marriage of his son into the family of R. Jose b. Zimra. It was agreed that he41 should spend twelve years at the academy.42 When the girl was led before him41 he said to them, 'Let it43 be six years'. When they made her pass before him [a second time] he said,'I would rather marry [her first] and then proceed [to the academy]'. He felt abashed44 before his father, but the latter said to him.'My son, you45 have the mind of your creator;46 for in Scripture it is written first, Thou bringest them in and plantest them47 and later it is written, And let them make Me a sanctuary. that I may dwell among them.48 [After the marriage] he departed and spent twelve years at the academy. By the time he returned his wife49 had lost the power of procreation. 'What shall we do?', said Rabbi. 'Should we order him to divorce her, it would be said: This poor soul waited in vain! Were he to marry another woman, it would be said: The latter is his wife and the other his mistress.' He prayed for mercy to be vouchsafed to her, and she recovered.
R. Hanania b. Hakinai was about to go away to the academy towards the conclusion of R. Simeon b. Yohai's wedding. 'Wait for me', the latter said to him, 'until I am able to join you'.50 He, however, did not wait for him but went away alone and spent twelve years at the academy. By the time he returned the streets of the town were altered and he was unable to find the way51 to his home. Going down to the river bank and sitting down there he heard a girl being addressed thus: 'Daughter of Hakinai, O, daughter of Hakinai, fill up your pitcher and let us go!' 'It is obvious',52 he thought, 'that the girl is ours', and he followed her. [When they reached the house] his wife was sitting and sifting flour. She53 lifted up her eyes and seeing him, was so overcome with joy54 that she fainted.55 'O, Lord of the universe', [the husband] prayed to Him, 'this poor soul; is this her reward?'56 And so he prayed for mercy to be vouchsafed to her and she revived.
R. Hama b. Bisa went away [from home and] spent twelve years at the house of study. When he returned he said, 'I will not act as did b. Hakina'.57 He therefore entered the [local] house of study and sent word to his house. Meanwhile his son, R. Oshaia58 entered, sat down before him and addressed to him a question on [one of the] subjects of study. [R. Hama]. seeing how well versed he was in his studies, became very depressed. 'Had I been here,'59 he said, 'l also could have had such a child'.- [When] he entered his house his son came in, whereupon [the father] rose before him, believing that he wished to ask him some [further] legal questions. 'What60 father', his wife chuckled,61 'stands up before a son!' Rami b. Hama applied to him [the following Scriptural text:] And a threefold cord is not quickly broken62 is a reference to R. Oshaia, son of R. Hania. son of Bisa.63
R. Akiba was a shepherd of Ben Kalba Sabua.64 The latter's daughter. seeing how modest and noble [the shepherd] was, said to him, 'Were I to be betrothed to you. would you go away to [study at] an academy?' 'Yes', he replied. She was then secretly betrothed to him and sent him away. When her father heard [what she had done] he drove her from his house and forbade her by a vow to have any benefit from his estate. [R. Akiba] departed. and spent twelve years at the academy. When he returned home he brought with him twelve thousand disciples. [While in his home town] he heard an old man saying to her, 'How long
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