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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
With regard to a lantern which was burning the whole day [of the Sabbath],1 at the conclusion of the Sabbath it is extinguished and then [re-]lit.2 Now, it is well if you say that the kindling constitutes the precept: then it is correct. But if you say that the placing constitutes the precept, is this [merely] extinguished and [re-]lit: surely it should [have stated], It must be extinguished, lifted up, replaced and then relit? Moreover, since we pronounce a benediction, 'Who sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to kindle the lamp of Hanukkah,' it proves that the kindling constitutes the precept. This proves it.
And now that we say that the kindling constitutes the precept, if a deaf-mute, idiot, or minor3 lights it, he does nothing. But a woman may certainly light [it], for R. Joshua b. Levi said: The [precept of the] Hanukkah lamp is obligatory upon women, for they too were concerned in that miracle.4
R. Shesheth said: The [precept of the] Hanukkah lamp is incumbent upon a guest.5 R. Zera said: Originally, when I was at the academy, I shared the cost6 with mine host;7 but after I took a wife I said, Now I certainly do not need it, because they kindle [the lamp] on my behalf at my home.8
R. Joshua b. Levi said: All oils are fit for the Hanukkah lamp, but olive oil is of the best. Abaye observed: At first the Master [Rabbah] used to seek poppy-seed oil, saying, The light of this is more lasting;9 but when he heard this [dictum] of R. Joshua b. Levi, he was particular for olive oil, saying, This yields a clearer light.
R. Joshua b. Levi also said: All oils are fit10 for ink, and olive oil is of the best. The scholars propounded: for kneading or for smoking?11 — Come and hear: For R. Samuel b. Zutra recited: All oils are fit for ink, and olive oil is of the best, both for kneading and for smoking. R. Samuel b. Zutra recited it thus: All soots are fit for ink: and olive oil is the best. R. Huna said: All gums are good for ink, but balsam gum is the best of all.
R. Hiyya b. Ashi said: He who lights the Hanukkah lamp must pronounce a blessing; while R. Jeremiah said He who sees the Hanukkah lamp must pronounce a blessing. Rab Judah said: On the first day, he who sees must pronounce two, and he who lights must pronounce three blessings;12 thereafter, he who lights pronounces two, and he who sees pronounces one. What is omitted?13 — The 'season' is omitted.14 Yet let the 'miracle' be omitted?15 The miracle holds good for every day.16
What benediction is uttered?17 — This: Who sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of Hanukkah.18 And where did He command us?19 — R. Awia said: [It follows] from, thou shalt not turn aside [from the sentence Which they shall shew thee].20 R. Nehemiah quoted: Ask thy father, and he will shew thee; Thine elders, and they will tell thee.21
R. Amram objected: Dem'ai22 can be employed for an 'erub22 and for a joint ownership;23 a benediction is pronounced over it, and grace in common is recited after it,24 and it25 may be separated by a naked person, and at twilight.26 But if you say that every Rabbinical [precept] requires a benediction, here, when one stands naked, how can he pronounce a benediction: lo! we require, therefore shall thy camp be holy [that he see no unclean thing in thee],27 which is absent? — Said Abaye, A certain Rabbinical law28 requires a benediction, whereas a doubtful Rabbinical law does not.29 But what of the second day of Festivals, which is a Rabbinical [institution] based on doubt,30 and yet it requires a benediction?31 — There it [was instituted] in order that it should not be treated slightingly.32 Raba said: The majority of the 'amme ha-arez tithe33 [their produce].34
R. Huna said: If a courtyard has two doors, it requires two [Hanukkah] lamps. Said Raba, That was said only [if they are situated] at two [different] sides; but [if] on the same side, it is unnecessary. What is the reason?35 Shall we say, because of suspicion?36 Whose suspicion? Shall we say, that of strangers:37 then let it be necessary even on the same side?38 Whilst if the suspicion of townspeople, then even [if] on two different sides it is still unnecessary?39 — After all, it is on account of the suspicion of the townspeople, yet perchance they may pass one [door] and not the other, and say, 'just as it [the lamp] has not been lit at this door, so has it not been lit at the other.'
And whence do you know40 that we pay regard to suspicions? Because it was taught, R. Simeon said: On account of four considerations the Torah ordered pe'ah41 to be left at the end of the field:42 [as a precaution] against the robbing of the poor, against wasting the time of the poor, against suspicion, and against [transgressing], thou shalt not finish off [the corners of thy field].43 [As a precaution] against the robbing of the poor: lest the owner see a free hour44 and say to his poor relations, 'This is pe'ah;'45
and against wasting the time of the poor: that the poor should not have to sit and watch out, 'now the owner will leave pe'ah'; and against suspicion: that passers-by may not say, 'cursed be the man who has not left pe'ah in his field'; and against [transgressing] thou shalt not finish off: are not all these on account of, 'thou shalt not finish off'?1 — Said Raba, [It means, as a precaution] against cheats.2
R. Isaac b. Redifah said in R. Huna's name: A lamp with two spouts is credited to two people.3 Raba said: If one fills a dish with oil and surrounds it with wicks, and places a vessel over it,4 it is credited to many people; if he does not place a vessel over it, he turns it into a kind of fire,5 and is not credited even to one.
Raba said: It is obvious to me [that if one must choose between] the house light and the Hanukkah light,6 the former is preferable, on account [of the importance] of the peace of the home;7 [between] the house light and [wine for] the Sanctification of the Day,8 the house light is preferable, on account of the peace of the home. Raba propounded: What [if the choice lies between] the Hanukkah lamp and the Sanctification of the Day: is the latter more important, because it is permanent;9 or perhaps the Hanukkah lamp is preferable, on account of advertising the miracle? After propounding, he himself solved it: The Hanukkah lamp is preferable, on account of advertising the miracle.
R. Huna said: He who habitually practises [the lighting of] the lamp will possess scholarly sons; he who is observant of [the precept of] mezuzah10 will merit a beautiful dwelling; he who is observant of fringes11 will merit a beautiful garment; he who is observant of the Sanctification of the Day will be privileged to fill barrels of wine.12
R. Huna was accustomed frequently to pass the door of R. Abin the carpenter.13 Seeing that he habitually lit many lights, he remarked, Two great men will issue hence. R. Idi b. Abin and R. Hiyya b. Abin issued thence. R. Hisda was accustomed frequently to pass the house of R. Shizbi's father.14 Seeing that he habitually lit many lights, he remarked, A great man will issue hence. R. Shizbi issued thence.
R. Joseph's wife used to kindle [the Sabbath lights] late.15 [Thereupon] R. Joseph said to her, It was taught: He took not away the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night:16 this teaches that the pillar of cloud overlapped17 the pillar of fire, and the pillar of fire overlapped the pillar of cloud. Thereupon she thought of doing it very early. Said an old man to her: It was taught: Providing that one is not too early18 or too late.
Raba said: He who loves the Rabbis will have sons who are Rabbis; he who honours the Rabbis will have Rabbis for sons-in-law; he who stands in awe of the Rabbis will himself be a Rabbinical scholar. But if he is not fit for this, his words will be heeded like those of a Rabbinical scholar.19
NOR WITH OIL OF BURNING. What is OIL OF BURNING? Said Rabbah, Oil of terumah which was defiled; and why is it called OIL OF BURNING? Because it stands to be burnt. And why is this forbidden on the Sabbath? — Since it is one's duty to destroy it, we fear lest he tilt [the lamp].20 Abaye objected: if so, let it be permitted on Festivals.21 Why did we learn: One must not kindle [the lamp] on Festivals with oil of burning!-Festivals are forbidden on account of the Sabbath.22 R. Hisda said: We have no fear lest he tilt [it], but here the reference is to a Festival which falls on the eve of the Sabbath, and as for the prohibition, [the reason is] because sacred food23 must not be burnt on Festivals.24 But since the second clause25 states, One must not light on Festivals with oil of burning, it follows that the first clause does not refer to Festivals? — R. Hanina of Sura answered: This [the second clause] states, 'What is the reason': what is the reason that one must not light [the lamp] on Festivals with oil of burning? Because sacred food must not be burnt on Festivals.26
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