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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
A curtain which was attacked by a moth was torn [round the moth hole] and resewn.
R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab's name: He who pulls the thread of a seam1 on the Sabbath is liable to a sin-offering; and he who learns a single thing from a Magian2 is worthy of death;3 and he who is able to calculate the cycles4 and planetary courses but does not, one may hold no conversation with him.5
As to magianism, Rab and Samuel [differ thereon]: one maintains that it is sorcery; the other, blasphemy. It may be proved that it is Rab who maintains that it is blasphemy. For R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab's name: He who learns a single thing from a magian is worthy of death. Now should you think that it is a sorcerer, surely it is written, thou shalt not learn to do [after the abomination of those nations],6 [implying], but you may learn in order to understand and instruct! This proves it.
R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi on the authority of Bar Kappara: He who knows how to calculate the cycles and planetary courses, but does not, of him Scripture saith, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered the operation of his hands.7 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan's name: How do we know that it is one's duty to calculate the cycles and planetary courses? Because it is written, for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples:8 what wisdom and understanding is in the sight of the peoples?9 Say, that it is the science of cycles and planets.
CAPTURING A DEER, etc. Our Rabbis taught: He who captures a purple-fish10 and crushes it is liable to one [sin-offering];11 R. Judah said: He is liable to two, for R. Judah maintained: Crushing comes under the head of threshing. Said they to him: Crushing does not come under the head of threshing. Raba observed: What is the Rabbis' reason? They hold that threshing is applicable only to produce from the soil. But let him be culpable too on the score of taking life? — Said R. Johanan: This means that he crushed it when [already] dead.12 Raba said: You may even explain that he crushed it whilst alive: in respect to the taking of life he is but incidentally occupied.13 But Abaye and Raba both maintain: R. Simeon admits in a case of 'cut off his head but let him not die!'14 Here it is different, because he is more pleased that it should be alive, so that the dye should be clearer.15
AND SLAUGHTERING IT. As for him who slaughters, on what score is he culpable? — Rab said: On the score of dyeing;16 while Samuel said: On the score of taking life.
On the score of dyeing but not on the score of taking life!1 Say, on the score of dyeing too. Rab said: As to this dictum of mine, I will make an observation thereon so that later generations should not come and deride me. Wherein is one pleased with the dyeing? One is pleased that the throat should be stained with blood, so that people may see it2 and come and buy from him.
SALTING AND CURING IT. But salting and tanning are identical?3 — R. Johanan and Resh Lakish both said: Omit one of these and insert the tracing of lines.4 Rabbah son of R. Huna said: He who salts meat is liable on account of tanning [dressing]. Raba said: Curing does not apply to foodstuffs. R. Ashi observed: And even Rabbah son of R. Huna ruled thus only when he requires it for a journey;5 but [when he needs it] for his house, one does not turn his food into wood.
SCRAPING AND CUTTING IT UP. R. Aha b. Hanina said: He who rubs [smooths skins] between columns6 on the Sabbath is liable on the score of scraping. R. Hiyya b. Abba said, R. Ammi told me three things in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: He who planes the tops of beams7 on the Sabbath is culpable on account of cutting.8 He who spreads a poultice [evenly over a sore] on the Sabbath is culpable on the grounds of scraping. And he who chisels round a stone on the Sabbath9 is liable on the score of striking with the hammer.10 R. Simeon b. Bisna said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: He who describes a figure on a utensil, and he who blows in glassware,11 is liable on the score of striking with a hammer. Rab Judah said: He who removes threads12 from garments on the Sabbath is liable on the score of striking with the hammer;13 but that is only when he objects to them.14
WRITING TWO LETTERS. Our Rabbis taught: If one writes one large letter in the place of which there is room for writing two, he is not culpable. If he erases one large letter and there is room in its place for writing two, he is culpable. Said R. Menahem son of R. Jose: And this is the greater stringency of erasing over writing.
BUILDING, PULLING DOWN, EXTINGUISHING, KINDLING, AND STRIKING WITH A HAMMER. Rabbah and R. Zera both say: Whatever comprises the finishing of the work imposes liability on the score of striking with a hammer.15
THESE ARE THE PRIMARY LABOURS. THESE is to reject R. Eleazar's view, who imposes liability on account of a derivative labour [when performed concurrently] with a primary labour.16
LESS ONE. This is to reject R. Judah's view. For it was taught: R. Judah adds the closing up of the web and the beating of the woof.17 Said they to him: Closing up of the web is included in stretching the threads, and beating [the woof] is included in weaving.
MISHNAH. THEY ALSO STATED ANOTHER GENERAL PRINCIPLE: WHATEVER IS FIT TO PUT AWAY18 AND SUCH IS [GENERALLY] PUT AWAY,19 AND ONE CARRIES IT OUT ON THE SABBATH, HE IS LIABLE TO A SIN-OFFERING ON ITS ACCOUNT. BUT WHATEVER IS NOT FIT TO PUT AWAY AND SUCH IS NOT [GENERALLY] PUT AWAY, AND ONE CARRIES IT OUT ON THE SABBATH, ONLY HE THAT PUT IT AWAY IS LIABLE.20
GEMARA. 'WHATEVER IS FIT TO PUT AWAY': What does this exclude? — R. Papa said: It excludes the blood of menstruation. Mar 'Ukba said: It excludes the wood of an Asherah.21 He who says the blood of menstruation, certainly [excludes] the wood of an Asherah. But he who says the wood of an Asherah; the blood of menstruation, however, is put away for a cat. But the other [argues]: since she would sicken,22 one would not put it away [for that purpose].
R. Jose b. Hanina said: This does not agree with R. Simeon. For if it were as R. Simeon, surely he maintained: All these standards were stated only in respect of those who put away.23
AND THAT WHICH IS NOT FIT TO PUT AWAY.
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