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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
MISHNAH. [IF ONE CARRIES OUT] BONE, [THE STANDARD IS AS MUCH AS IS REQUIRED FOR MAKING A SPOON;1 R. JUDAH MAINTAINED: FOR MAKING THEREOF2 A HAF; GLASS, LARGE ENOUGH FOR SCRAPING THE TOP OF THE WHORL [OF A SPINDLE]; A CHIP OR A STONE, LARGE ENOUGH TO THROW AT A BIRD; R. ELEAZAR B. JACOB SAID: LARGE ENOUGH TO THROW AT AN ANIMAL.3
Our Rabbis taught: The wards of a lock are clean;6 [but] when one fits them into the lock, they are [liable to become] unclean.7 But if it [the lock] is of a revolving door,8 even when it is fixed on the door and nailed on with nails, they [the wards] are clean, because whatever is joined to the soil is as the soil.9
GLASS, LARGE ENOUGH FOR SCRAPING [etc.]. A Tanna taught: Glass,10 large enough to break across two threads simultaneously.
A CHIP, OR A STONE, LARGE ENOUGH TO THROW AT A BIRD: R. ELEAZAR [etc.]. R. Jacob said in R. Johanan's name: Providing that it can feel it. And what size is that? It was taught, R. Eleazar b. Jacob said: Ten zuz in weight.11
Zonin entered the Beth Hamidrash [and] said to them [the students]: My masters, what is the standard of the stones of a privy?12 Said they to him: [One] the size of an olive, [a second] the size of a nut, and [a third] the size of an egg.13 Shall one take [them] in a [gold] balance! he objected.14 [Thereupon] they voted and decided: A handful.15 It was taught; R. Jose said: [One] the size of an olive, [another] the size of a nut, and [a third] the size of an egg: R. Simeon b. Jose said on his father's authority: A handful.
Our Rabbis taught: One may carry three smoothly rounded stones16 into a privy. And what is their size? R. Meir said: As [large as] a nut; R. Judah maintained: As [large as] an egg. Rafram b. Papa observed in R. Hisda's name: Even as they differ here, so do they differ in respect to an ethrog.17 But there it is a Mishnah, whereas here it is [only] a Baraitha?18 Rather [say:] Just as they differ in respect to an ethrog, so do they differ here.
Raba said: One may not use a chip on the Sabbath [as a suppository] in the same way as one uses it on weekdays. Mar Zutra demurred: Shall one then endanger [his health]? — [It may be done] in a back-handed manner.21
R. Jannai said: If there is a fixed place for the privy,22 [one may carry in] a handful [of stones];23 if not, [only] the size of the leg of a small spice mortar [is permitted].24 R. Shesheth said: If there is evidence upon it,25 it is permitted.26 An objection is raised: Ten things lead to hemorrhoids in a man, and these are they: [i] eating the leaves of reeds; [ii] the leaves of vines; [iii] sprouts of grapevine; [iv] the rough flesh27 of an animal without salt; [v] the spine of a fish; [vi] a salted fish insufficiently cooked; [vii] drinking the lees of wine; [viii] wiping oneself with lime, [ix] with clay. [x] [and] with a chip which one's neighbour has [already] used thus.28 And some say, Suspending oneself in a privy too.29 — There is no difficulty; the one refers to a damp [stone];30 the other to a dry one. Alternatively, here the reference is to the same side [of the stone];31 there, to the other side. Another alternative: the one refers to his own;32 the other, to his neighbour's. Abaye asked R. Joseph: What if rain fell on it and it [the stain] was washed away? If the mark thereof is perceptible, he replied, it is permitted.
Rabbah son of R. Shila asked R. Hisda:
Is it permissible to carry them up [the stones] after one to the roof?1 Human dignity is very important, he replied, and it supersedes a negative injunction of the Torah.2 Now, Meremar sat and reported this discussion, [whereupon] Rabina raised an objection to Meremar: R. Eliezer said: One may take a chip [lying] before him to pick his teeth therewith;3 but the Sages maintain: He may take only from an animal's trough?4 How compare! There, one appoints a place for his meal;5 but here, does one appoint a place for a privy?6
R. Huna said: One may not obey the call of nature on a ploughed field on the Sabbath. What is the reason? Shall we say, because of treading down?7 Then the same holds good even on weekdays? Again, if it is on account of the grasses,8 — surely Resh Lakish said: One may cleanse himself with a pebble whereon grass has sprouted, but if one detaches [the grass] thereof on the Sabbath, he incurs a sin-offering? Rather [the reason is] lest he take [a clod] from an upper level9 and throw it below,10 and he is then liable on account of Rabbah's [dictum], for Rabbah said: If one has a depression and fills it up, — if in the house, he is culpable on account of building; if in the field, he is culpable on account of ploughing.
[To revert to] the main text: Resh Lakish said: One may cleanse himself with a pebble whereon 'grass has sprouted; but if one detaches [the grass] thereof on the Sabbath, he incurs a sin-offering. R. Pappi said: From Resh Lakish you may infer that one may take up a parpisa.11 R. Kahana demurred: If they said [that it is permitted] in case of need,12 shall they say [thus] where there is no need!13
Abaye said: As for parpisa, since it has come to hand, we will state something about it. If it is lying on the ground and one places it upon pegs, he is culpable on the score of detaching; if it is lying on pegs and one places it on the ground, he is liable on the score of planting.14
R. Johanan said: One must not cleanse oneself with a shard on the Sabbath. What is the reason? Shall we say on account of danger?15 Then on weekdays too [let it be forbidden]? Again if it is on account of witchcraft:16 it may not [be done] even on weekdays too? Again, if it is on account of the tearing out of hair, — but surely that is unintentional? — Said R. Nathan b. Oshaia to them: [Since] a great man has stated this dictum, let us give a reason for it. [Thus:] it is unnecessary [to state] that it is forbidden on weekdays;17 but on the Sabbath, since it bears the rank of a utensil, [I might think that] it is permitted:18 therefore he informs us [otherwise].
Raba recited it on account of the tearing out of hair, and found R. Johanan to be self-contradictory. [Thus:] did then R. Johanan say, One must not cleanse oneself with a shard on the Sabbath, which shows that what is unintentional is forbidden? Surely R. Johanan said: The halachah is as [every] anonymous Mishnah, and we learnt: A nazirite may cleanse [his hair] and part it, but he must not comb it.19 But it is clear that it is as R. Nathan b. Oshaia.
What is [the reference to] witchcraft? — R. Hisda and Rabbah son of R. Huna were travelling in a boat, when a certain [non-Jewish] matron said to them, 'Seat me near you,' but they did not seat her. Thereupon she uttered something [a charm] and bound the boat;20 they uttered something, and freed it. Said she to them, 'What shall I do to you,
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