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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
then instead of WHATEVER I HAVE A RIGHT TO INSTRUCT [THAT IT BE DONE], I AM PERMITTED TO AWAIT NIGHTFALL, FOR IT, he should state, 'Whatever I have no right to instruct [that it be done]. I am not permitted to await nightfall for it'.1 Whereas if he bases himself on the second clause, BUT ONE MAY DO SO IN ORDER TO WATCH OVER HIS FIELDS, AND [THEN] HE CAN BRING [HOME] PRODUCE WITH HIM, then he should state, 'Whatever I have a right to await nightfall [at the tehum], I am permitted to instruct [that it be done]'? — In truth he refers to the second clause, but Abba Saul bases himself on the following. For Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: One may say to his neighbour, 'Watch for me over the fruit in your tehum, and I will watch for you over the fruit in my tehum.' And thus Abba Saul argues with the first Tanna: Do you not admit that one may say to his neighbour, 'Watch for me over the fruit in your tehum and I will watch for you over the fruit in my tehum?' then say, WHATEVER I HAVE A RIGHT TO INSTRUCT [THAT IT BE DONE]. I AM PERMITTED TO AWAIT NIGHTFALL FOR IT.2
What does the general principle add?3 — It adds the following, which our Rabbis taught: One may not go to the tehum to await nightfall in order to bring an animal. If it is standing without the tehum, one may call it and it comes. Abba Saul stated a general principle: Whatever I have a right to say [that it shall be done],4 I am permitted to await nightfall [at the tehum] for it. And one may go to await nightfall in order to attend to the affairs of a bride or of a corpse, to bring a coffin and shrouds for him. And one may give instructions to another, 'Go to such and such a place, and if you cannot obtain them from there, bring them from elsewhere; if you cannot obtain them for a maneh, obtain them for two manehs.' R. Jose son of R. Judah said: Provided that he does not mention the exact price to him.5
MISHNAH. YOU MAY GO TO THE TEHUM AGAINST NIGHTFALL IN ORDER TO ATTEND TO THE AFFAIRS OF A BRIDE OR OF A CORPSE, TO BRING A COFFIN AND SHROUDS FOR HIM. IF A GENTILE BRINGS REED-PIPES ON THE SABBATH,6 ONE MUST NOT BEWAIL AN ISRAELITE ON THEM, UNLESS THEY CAME FROM A NEAR PLACE.7 IF HE [A GENTILE] MADE A COFFIN FOR HIMSELF OR DUG A GRAVE FOR HIMSELF,8 AN ISRAELITE MAY BE BURIED THEREIN. BUT IF [HE MADE IT] FOR THE SAKE OF AN ISRAELITE, HE MAY NEVER BE BURIED THEREIN.9
GEMARA. What does FROM A NEAR PLACE mean? Rab said: Literally from a near place.10 While Samuel said: We conjecture that they [the reed-pipes] were [just] without the [city] wall during the night.11 [Raba said.]12 The deduction of our Mishnah supports Samuel, for it is stated: IF HE [A GENTILE] MADE A COFFIN FOR HIMSELF OR DUG A GRAVE FOR HIMSELF, AN ISRAELITE MAY BE BURIED THEREIN. This proves that it is permitted on account of a doubt;13 so here too, it is permitted on account of a doubt. And we learnt in accordance with Rab [too]: A city inhabited by Israelites and Gentiles which contains baths where there is bathing on the Sabbath, if the majority are Gentiles, one [an Israelite] may bathe therein immediately; if the majority are Israelites, one must wait until hot water could be heated;14 if half and half, one must wait until hot water could be heated.15 R. Judah said: In the case of a small bath, if there is there16 [a man of authority],17 he [an Israelite] may bathe therein immediately. What is '[a man of] authority?' Said Rab Judah in the name of R. Isaac son of Rab Judah: If there is there an important personage who possesses ten slaves who heat ten kettles [of water] for him simultaneously, then if it is a small bath he [the Israelite] may bathe therein immediately.18
IF HE [A GENTILE] MADE A COFFIN FOR HIMSELF OR DUG A GRAVE FOR HIMSELF, etc. Yet why so? here too, let him wait until it could be made?19 — Said 'Ulla: It refers to one [a grave] that stands in an [army] camp.20 That is well of a grave; [but] what can be said of a coffin? Said R. Abbahu: It refers to [a coffin] that is lying on his grave.21
MISHNAH. ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DEAD MAY BE DONE; HE MAY BE ANOINTED WITH OIL AND WASHED, PROVIDED THAT NO LIMB OF HIS IS MOVED. THE PILLOW MAY BE REMOVED FROM UNDER HIM, AND HE MAY BE PLACED ON SAND, IN ORDER THAT
HE MAY BE ABLE TO KEEP.1 THE JAW MAY BE TIED UP, NOT IN ORDER THAT IT SHOULD CLOSE2 BUT THAT IT SHOULD NOT GO FURTHER [OPEN]. AND LIKEWISE, IF A BEAM IS BROKEN, IT MAY BE SUPPORTED BY A BENCH OR BED STAVES, NOT IN ORDER THAT IT [THE BREAK] SHOULD CLOSE UP, BUT THAT IT SHOULD GO NO FURTHER.
GEMARA. But Surely Rab Judah related in Samuel's name: It once happened that a disciple of R. Meir followed him into the baths and wished to swill the ground for him, [but] he said to him, One may not swill; then he wished to oil the ground for him, but he said to him, One may not oil?3 — Ground may be confused with ground. but a corpse cannot be confused with ground.4
What does ALL add? It adds the following, which our Rabbis taught: Cooling vessels and metal vessels may be brought and placed on his [the corpse's] stomach, in order that he should not swell, and his apertures may be stopped up, in order that the air should not enter. And [thus] said Solomon too in his wisdom: 'Or ever the silver cord be snapped asunder' — this refers to the spinal cord; 'and the golden bowl be broken' — this alludes to the membrum; 'and the pitcher be broken at the fountain' — that means the stomach; 'and the wheel broken, at the cistern' — this refers to the excrements.5 And thus it is said, and I will spread dung on your faces, even the dung of your feasts.6 R. Huna — others state, R. Haga- said: This refers to people who abandon study7 and spend all their days at feasts. R. Levi said in R. Pappi's name in R. Joshua's name: After three days [from death] the stomach bursts and it [its contents] lies cast out before his face and exclaims, 'Take what you have put in me.'
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: He who closes [the eyes of a dying man] at the point of death is a murderer. This may be compared to a lamp that is going out: If a man places his finger upon it, it is immediately extinguished. It was taught, R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: If one desires that a dead man's eyes should close, let him blow wine into his nostrils and apply oil between his two eyelids and hold his two big toes; then they close of their own accord.
It was taught, R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: For a day-old infant the Sabbath is desecrated; for David, King of Israel, dead, the Sabbath must not be desecrated. 'For a day-old infant the Sabbath is desecrated': the Torah ordered, Desecrate one Sabbath on his account so that he may keep many Sabbaths. 'For David, King of Israel, dead, the Sabbath must not be desecrated': Once man dies he is free from [all] obligations, and thus R. Johanan interpreted: Among the dead I am free:10 once a man is dead he is free from religious duties. It was further taught, R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: A day-old infant, alive, need not be guarded from weasels or mice, but Og, king of Bashan,11 dead, needs guarding from weasels and mice, as it is said, and the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth:12 as long as a man is alive, his fear lies upon dumb creatures; once he dies his fear ceases. R. Papa said: We hold [as tradition] that a lion does not attack two persons [together]. But we see that it does? — That is [explained] as Rami b. Abba. For Rami b. Abba said: A beast has no power over man until it appears to it as an animal, for it is said, Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.13
It was further taught, R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: Perform [righteousness and charity] whilst thou canst find [an object for thy charity], hast the opportunity,16 and it is yet in thy power,17 and Solomon in his wisdom too said: 'Remember also thy creator in the days of thy youth, or ever the evil days come' — this refers to the days of old age; 'and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them'18 — this refers to the Messianic era, wherein there is neither merit nor guilt. Now he disagrees with Samuel, who said: The only difference between this world and the Messianic era is in respect of servitude to [foreign] powers, for it is said, For the poor shall never cease out of the land.19
It was taught, R. Eleazar ha-Kappar said: Let one always pray to be spared this fate [poverty], for if he does not descend [to poverty] his son will, and if not his son, his grandson, for it is said, because that for [bi-gelal] this thing, [etc.].20 The School of R. Ishmael taught: It is a wheel [galal] that revolves in the world.21 R. Joseph said: We hold [as tradition] that a Rabbinical student will not suffer poverty. But we see that he does suffer poverty? Even if he suffers poverty, he [nevertheless] does not engage in begging.22 R. Hiyya said to his wife: When a poor man comes, be quick to offer him bread, so that others may be quick to offer it to your children. You curse them! she exclaimed. A verse is written, he replied: 'because that for [bi-gelal] this thing', whereon the School of R. Ishmael taught: It is a wheel that revolves in the world. It was taught R. Gamaliel Beribbi23 said: And he shall give24 thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee:25 he Who is merciful to others, mercy is shown to him by Heaven, while he who is not merciful to others, mercy is not shown to him by Heaven.26
'Or ever the sun and the light be darkened':27 this refers to the forehead and the nose; 'and the moon' — this is the soul; 'and the stars' these are the cheeks; 'and the clouds return after the rain' — this is the light of man's eyes [his eyesight], which is lost after weeping.28 Samuel said: For tears, until the age of forty there is a recovery, but thenceforth there is no recovery.29 And R. Nahman said: As for kohl,30 until the age of forty it improves [the eyesight], but thereafter, even if the paint-stick is as thick [with paint] as a weaver's pin, it may indeed stay [the ravages of time], but will certainly not improve [the eyesight]. What does he inform us? That the thicker the paint-stick the more beneficial it is.
R. Hanina's daughter died, [but] he did not weep for her. Said his wife to him, 'Hast thou sent out a fowl from thy house?'31 '[Shall I suffer] two [evils],' he retorted, 'bereavement and blindness?' He held as R. Johanan said in the name of R. Jose the son of a laundress: There are six kinds of tears, three being beneficial and three harmful: those caused by smoke, weeping,32
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