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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
R. Zebid recited it thus: Rami b. Hama said: If one leads a laden ass on the Sabbath: if unwittingly, he does not incur a sin-offering: if deliberately, he is liable to stoning. Raba objected: He who desecrates the Sabbath by an offence for which, if unwitting, a sin-offering is incurred, if deliberate he is liable to stoning. Hence if one does not incur a sin-offering when it is unwitting, there is no stoning when it is deliberate? — Does he [the Tanna] then teach, 'Hence if one does not incur a sin-offering,' etc.? [Surely] he says thus: [Every] offence for which, if unwitting, one is liable to a sin-offering, if deliberate he is liable to stoning. Yet there is an offence for which, if unwitting, a sin-offering is not incurred, nevertheless if deliberate one is liable to stoning. And what is it? Leading a laden ass.
Raba, the brother of R. Mari b. Rachel, others state, the father of R. Mari b. Rachel — (on the second version there is the difficulty that Rab declared R. Mari b. Rachel eligible [to hold office] and appointed him one of the collectors of Babylonia?1 — perhaps there were two men of the name of Mari b. Rachel)2 recited this discussion in R. Johanan's name, teaching non-culpability. [Thus:] R. Johanan said: If one drives a laden animal on the Sabbath he is not culpable at all. If it is unwitting he does not incur a sin-offering, because the whole Torah is assimilated to idolatry. If deliberate he is not culpable, because we learnt: He who desecrates the Sabbath [is stoned], provided that it is an offence for which a sin-offering is incurred if it is unwitting and stoning if it is deliberate:3 hence if the unwitting offence does not involve a sin-offering, the deliberate offence does not involve stoning. Neither is he liable for [the violation of] a negative precept,4 because it is a negative precept for which a warning of capital punishment at the hands of Beth din may be given, and for such there is no flagellation.5
And even on the view that we do flagellate [in such a case],1 let the Divine Law write, 'Thou shalt not do any work nor thy cattle': why state 'thou'? [To teach:] only [when] he personally [works] is he liable, but [if] his animal works, he is not liable.
WHEN HE REACHES THE OUTERMOST COURTYARD, etc. R. Huna said: If his animal is laden with glassware, he brings mattresses and pillows, places [them] under it, unties the cords, and the sacks fall off. But we learnt: HE REMOVES THE OBJECTS WHICH MAY BE HANDLED ON THE SABBATH?2 — R. Huna spoke of surgeon's horns,3 which are not fit for him.4 But he makes a utensil lose its readiness [for use]?5 — The reference is to small bags.6
An objection is raised: If one's animal is laden with tebel or glass balls,7 he must untie the cords and the sacks fall off, though they are broken? — There it treats of glass lumps.8 This may be proved too, for it is taught analogous to tebel: just as tebel is of no use to him, so here too [it means something] that is of no use to him. Then why state, 'though they are broken'?9 — You might say that they [the Sages] were concerned even about a trifling loss: hence he informs us [otherwise].
It was taught R. Simeon b. Yohai said: If the animal is laden with a bag of corn,10 one places his head under it and moves it to the other side, so that it falls off automatically. R. Gamaliel's ass was laden with honey, but he would not unload it until the termination of the Sabbath. On the termination of the Sabbath it died. But we learnt: HE REMOVES THE OBJECTS WHICH MAY BE HANDLED?11 — It had gone rancid. If it had gone rancid, of what use was it?12 — For camels' sores.13 Then he should have untied the cords so that the sacks would fall off? — The gourds [containers] would burst — Then he should have brought mattresses and pillows and placed them beneath them? — They would become soiled14 and he would deprive a utensil of its readiness [for use]. But there was suffering of dumb animals? — He holds that the suffering of dumb animals is [only] Rabbinically [forbidden].15
Abaye found Rabbah letting his son glide down the back of an ass.16 Said he to him, You are making use of dumb creatures [on the Sabbath]? — It is but on the sides [of the animal], he replied, and in that case the Rabbis did not impose an interdict.17 How do you know it? — Because we learnt: HE UNTIES THE CORDS AND THE SACKS FALL OFF AUTOMATICALLY. Does that not refer to a pair of coupled haversacks?18 No: a balanced load is meant;19 alternatively, it means where [the sacks are fastened] by a bolt.20
He raised an objection: If two [walls] are [made] by man and a third is on a tree, it is valid, but one must not ascend [enter] therein on the Festival.21 Does that not mean that one made grooves on the tree,22 so that it is the sides [only that would be used], and thus the sides are forbidden? — No: It means that he bent over [the branches of] the tree and placed the roofing — upon it, so that he makes use of the tree. If so, consider the second clause: If three are made by man and a fourth is in a tree, it is valid, and one may ascend therein on the Festival. But if he bent over the tree, why may he ascend therein on the Festival?23 — Then what would you: that the sides are forbidden,24 — then still the question remains: why may one ascend therein on the Festival? But there it treats of spreading branches, and the tree itself was merely made a wall.25 This may be proved too, for he states, This is the general rule: wherever it [the sukkah] can stand if the tree were removed, one may ascend therein on the Festival.26 This proves it.
Shall we say that this is dependent on Tannaim? [For it was taught.] One may not ascend therein on the Festival; R. Simeon b. Eleazar said in R. Meir's name: One may ascend therein on the Festival. Is that not [to be explained] that they differ in this, viz., one Master holds: The sides are forbidden; while the other Master holds: The sides are permitted?27 — Said Abaye, No: All hold that the sides are forbidden, but here they differ in respect of the sides of the sides:28 one Master holds: The sides of the sides are forbidden; while the other Master holds: The sides of the sides are permitted.
Raba maintained: He who forbids the sides forbids the sides of the sides too, while he who permits the sides of the sides permits the sides too. R. Mesharsheya raised an objection to Raba: If one drives
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