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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim
R. Aha b. Adda said: In the West [i.e., Palestine] the following verse is divided into three verses, viz., And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud etc.6
R. Hama b. R. Hanina said: Moses became wealthy but from the chippings of the tablets, for it is written, Hew thee two tablets of stone like unto the first:7 their chips be thine.
R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: The Torah was given only to Moses and his seed, for it is written, write thee these words8 [and] Hew thee:9 just as the chips are thine so is the writing thine.10 But Moses in his generosity gave it to Israel, and concerning him it is said, He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed, etc.11 R. Hisda objected: And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments?12 — He commanded me, and I [passed it on] to you.13 [A further objection:] Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me?14 — He commanded me, and I taught you. Now, therefore, write this song for you!15 — This refers to the song alone.16 That this song be a witness for the against the children of Israel?17 — But only the [Scripture] dialectics [were given to Moses alone].18
R. Johanan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, causes His Divine Presence to rest only upon him who is strong, wealthy, wise and meek;19 and all these [qualifications] are deduced from Moses. Strong, for it is written, And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle;20 and a Master said, Moses our teacher spread it; and it is also written, Ten cubits shall be the length of the board.21 Yet perhaps it was long and thin?22 — But [it is derived] from this verse: And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and broke them.23 Now, it was taught: The tablss [sic, tables] were six [handbreadths] in length, six in breadth, and three in thickness.24 Wealthy, [as it is written] Hew thee, [interpreted] the chips be thine. Wise: for Rab and Samuel both said, Fifty gates of understanding were created in the world, and all but one were given to Moses, for it is said, For thou hast made him [sc. Moses] a little lower than God.25 Meek, for it is written, Now the man Moses was very meek.26
R. Johanan said: All the prophets were wealthy. Whence do we derive this? From Moses, Samuel, Amos and Jonah. Moses, because it is written, I have not taken one ass from them.38 Now, if he meant without a hiring fee — did he then merely claim not to be one of those who take without a fee?28 He must hence have meant, even with a fee.29 But perhaps it was because of his poverty?30 — But [it is derived] from the verse, Hew thee etc.: the chips be thine. Samuel, because it is written, Behold here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken?31 Now, if he meant for nothing — did he then merely claim not to be one of those who take without payment? Hence he must have meant, even for payment. But perhaps it was due to poverty? — Rather from this verse, And his return was to Ramah: for there was his house.32 Whereupon Raba observed, wherever he went, his house went with him.33 (Raba said: A greater thing is said of Samuel than of Moses: for in the case of Moses it is stated, 'I have not taken one ass from them' implying even for a fee;34 but in the case of Samuel, he did not hire it even with their consent, for it is written, And they said, thou hast not defrauded us, nor taken advantage of our willingness.)36  Amos, because it is written, Then answered Amos and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son, but I was a herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit;36 which R. Joseph translated: Behold, I am the owner of flocks, and possess sycamore trees in the valley.37 Jonah, as it is written [and he found a ship going to Tarshish:] so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it.38 And R. Johanan observed: He paid for the hire of the whole ship. R. Romanus said: The hire of the ship was four thousand gold denarii.
R. Johanan also said: At first Moses used to study the Torah and forget it, until it was given to him as a gift, for it is said, And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him [… two tables of testimony].39
MISHNAH. AND HE MAY SUPPORT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, THOUGH HE [THE MUDDAR] IS LIABLE FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE.40 BUT HE MAY NOT FEED HIS BEASTS, WHETHER CLEAN OR UNCLEAN.41 R. ELIEZER SAID: HE MAY FEED AN UNCLEAN BEAST OF HIS, BUT NOT A CLEAN ONE. THEY [THE SAGES] SAID TO HIM, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN UNCLEAN AND A CLEAN BEAST? HE REPLIED TO THEM, THE LIFE OF A CLEAN BEAST BELONGS TO HEAVEN, BUT THE BODY IS HIS OWN;42 BUT AN UNCLEAN ANIMAL
Nedarim 38bBELONGS BODY AND LIFE TO HEAVEN.1 SAID THEY TO HIM, THE LIFE OF AN UNCLEAN BEAST TOO BELONGS TO HEAVEN AND THE BODY IS HIS. FOR IF HE WISHES, HE CAN SELL IT TO A HEATHEN OR FEED DOGS WITH IT.
GEMARA. R. Isaac b. Hananiah said in R. Huna's name: He who is under a vow not to benefit from his neighbour may give him his daughter in marriage. R. Zera pondered thereon: What are the circumstances? If the property of the bride's father is forbidden to the bridegroom, — is he not giving him a servant to serve him?2 If again the bridegroom's property is forbidden to the father of the bride3 — but even a greater thing was said: HE MAY SUPPORT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN. THOUGH HE [THE MUDDAR] IS LIABLE FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE;4 then you say, He may give him his daughter in marriage! — After all, this refers to the case where the property of the father of the bride is forbidden to the bridegroom, but this treats of his daughter, a bogereth,5 [who marries] at her own desire. It was taught likewise: He who is under a vow not to benefit from his neighbour may not give him his daughter in marriage; but he may permit his daughter, a bogereth, to marry him at her own desire.
R. Jacob said: If a man imposes a vow on his son [to do no service for him], in order that his son may study,6 the latter may fill a barrel of water and light the lamp for him.7 R. Isaac said: He is permitted to broil him a small fish.
R. Jeremiah said in R. Johanan's name: If a man is under a vow not to benefit from his neighbour, the latter may offer him the cup of peace. What is that? — Here [in Babylon] it has been interpreted, the cup drunk in the house of mourning.8 In the West [Palestine] it was said: the cup of the baths.9
BUT HE MAY NOT FEED HIS BEASTS, WHETHER etc. It was taught: Joshua of 'Uzza said: He may feed his Canaanitish [i.e., heathen] bondmen and bondwomen, but not his beasts, whether clean or unclean. Why so? Because slaves are for service;10 beasts are for fattening.
MISHNAH. IF ONE IS FORBIDDEN TO BENEFIT FROM HIS NEIGHBOUR, AND HE PAYS HIM A VISIT [IN SICKNESS] HE MUST STAND, BUT NOT SIT; HE MAY AFFORD HIM A CURE OF LIFE, BUT NOT A CURE OF MONEY.11
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