Previous Folio / Shabbath Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
from the Tabernacle. Here it is written, This is the law when a man dieth in a tent [ohel];1 and there it is written, and he spread the tent [ohel] over the Tabernacle:2 just as there [the covering] of linen is designated tent, so here too, [a covering] of linen is designated tent.3 If so, just as there it was twisted and the thread was doubled sixfold,4 so here too it must be twisted and its thread doubled sixfold?5 — The repetition of tent6 is an extension.7 If the repetition of tent is an extension, then everything else8 too should be included? — If so, what avails the gezerah shawah?9 Yet [perhaps] say, just as there [the Tabernacle was of] boards, so here too [a tent of] boards [is meant]? — Scripture saith, And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle:10 the tabernacle11 is called tabernacle, but the boards are not designated tabernacle. If so, [when it is stated,] and thou shalt make a covering12 for the tent [ohel],13 is the covering indeed not designated tent [ohel]? But when R. Eleazar propounded: Can the skin of an unclean animal14 be defiled by overshadowing15 the dead? — [What doubt was there] seeing that the skin of a clean animal cannot be defiled,16 is there a question of the skin of an unclean animal17 — There it is different, because Scripture restored it,18 as it is written, they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tent of meeting, its covering and the covering of sealskin that is above it:19 thus the upper [covering]20 is assimilated to the lower:21 just as the lower is designated tent,22 so is the upper designated tent.
[To revert to] the main text: 'R. Eleazar propounded: Can the skin23 of an unclean animal be defiled with the defilement of tents?'24 What is his problem?25 — Said R. Adda b. Ahabah: His question relates to the tahash which was in the days of Moses,26 — was it unclean or clean? R. Joseph observed, What question is this to him? We learnt it! For the sacred work none but the skin of a clean animal was declared fit.
R. Abba objected: R. Judah said: There were two coverings, one of dyed rams' skins, and one of tahash skins. R. Nehemiah said: There was one covering27 and it was like a squirrel['s].28 But the squirrel is unclean!-This is its meaning: like a squirrel['s], which has many colours, yet not [actually] the squirrel, for that is unclean, whilst here a clean [animal is meant]. Said R. Joseph: That being so, that is why we translate it sasgawna [meaning] that it rejoices in many colours.29
Raba said: That the skin of an unclean animal is defiled by overshadowing30 the dead [is inferred] from the following. For it was taught: [Scripture could state] skin; [by stating or in] skin31 it extends [the law to] the skin of an unclean animal and to one which was smitten [with leprosy] in the priests hand.32 If one cuts off [pieces] of all these33 and makes one [piece] out of them, how do we know [it]?34 From the verse, 'or in any thing [meleketh] made of skin'.35 But this [Raba's statement] can be refuted: as for leprosy, [the reason36 is] because the warp and the wool is defiled in their case?37 Rather it is learnt from leprosy. For it was taught: Skin:38 I know it only of the skin of a clean animal; how do I know it of the skin of an unclean animal? Therefore it is stated, or skin.39 But this may be refuted: as for reptiles, [the reason is] they defile by the size of a lentil.40 Let leprosy prove it.41 And thus the argument revolves: the characteristic of one is not that of the other, and vice versa: the feature common to both is that skin is unclean in their case, and the skin of an unclean animal was assimilated to that of a clean animal: so also do I adduce the tent of the dead, that skin is unclean in its case,42 and the skin of an unclean animal is assimilated to that of a clean animal.
Raba of Barnesh43 observed to R. Ashi: But this can be refuted: as for the feature common to both, it is that they defile others in less than the size of an olive:44 will you say [the same] of the dead, which defiles only by the size of an olive? Rather, said Raba of Barnesh,
it is inferred a minori from goats' hair, which is not defiled by leprosy, yet is defiled by overshadowing the dead; then the skin of an unclean animal, which is defiled by leprosy, is surely defiled by overshadowing the dead.
Then when R. Joseph recited, 'For the sacred work none but the skin of a clean animal was considered fit,' for what practical law [did he say it]?1 — In respect of phylacteries.2 Of phylacteries it is explicitly stated, that the law of the Lord may be in thy mouth,3 [meaning] of that which is permitted in thy mouth?4 Rather in respect of their hide.5 But Abaye said, The skin of phylacteries is a law of Moses from Sinai?6 — Rather, it is in respect of tying it with hair and sewing it with its tendons.7 But that is a law of Moses from Sinai. For it was taught: Rectangular phylacteries8 are a law of Moses from Sinal: they must be tied with their hair and sewn with their tendons.9 — Rather it is in respect of their straps.10 But R. Isaac said, Black straps are a law of Moses from Sinai? Granted that black is traditional, is clean traditional?11
What is our conclusion with respect to the tahash which existed in Moses' days? — Said R. Elai in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish, R. Meir used to maintain, The tahash of Moses' day was a separate species, and the Sages could not decide whether it belonged to the genus of wild beasts or to the genus of domestic animals; and it bad one horn in its forehead, and it came to Moses' hand [providentially] just for the occasion,12 and he made the [covering of the] Tabernacle, and then it was hidden. Now, since he says that it had one horn in its forehead, it follows that it was clean. For R. Judah said, The ox which Adam the first [man] sacrificed had one horn in its forehead, for it is said, and it shall please the Lord better than an ox, or a bullock that hath a horn [sic] and hoofs.13 But makrin14 implies two? — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: Mi-keren15 is written.16 Then let us solve thence that it was a genus of domestic animal?17 — Since there is the keresh,18 which is a species of beast, and it has only one horn, one can say that it [the tahash] is a kind of wild beast.
MISHNAH. A WICK [MADE] OF A CLOTH WHICH WAS TWISTED BUT NOT SINGED, — R. ELIEZER SAID: IT IS UNCLEAN, AND ONE MAY NOT LIGHT [THE SABBATH LAMP] THEREWITH; R. AKIBA MAINTAINED: IT IS CLEAN, AND ONE MAY LIGHT THEREWITH.19
GEMARA. As for the matter of uncleanness, it is well, [for] they differ in this: R. Eliezer holds that twisting is of no effect, and it remains in its previous condition;20 while R. Akiba holds that twisting is effective, and it [its previous condition] is indeed annulled. But with reference to lighting, wherein do they differ? — R. Eleazar said in R. Oshaia's name, and R. Adda b. Ahabah said likewise: The reference here is to [a rag] exactly three [fingerbreadths] square;21 and also to a Festival falling on the eve of the Sabbath. Now, all agree with R. Judah, who maintained, One may fire [an oven, etc.,] with [whole] utensils, but not with broken utensils.22 Further, all agree with 'Ulla's dictum, viz.: He who lights must light the greater part [of the wick] which protrudes. R. Eliezer holds that twisting is of no avail, and immediately one kindles it slightly it becomes a broken utensil,23 and when he goes on kindling it,24 he kindles a broken utensil. But R. Akiba holds that twisting is effective, and it does not bear the character of a utensil, and therefore when he kindles, he kindles a mere piece of wood.25 R. Joseph observed: This is what I learnt, exactly three [fingerbreadths] square, but did not know in reference to what law.
Now, since R. Adda b. Ahabah explains it in accordance with R. Judah,26 it follows that he himself holds as R. Judah. Yet did R. Adda b. Ahabah say thus? Surely R. Adda b. Ahabah said:
- To Next Folio -