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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
he is permitted to marry her forthwith.1
Raba said: What is R. Simeon b. Eleazar's reason?2 — Because it is written, Every man's slave that is bought for money;3 [could it mean] the slave of a man and not the slave of a woman?4 But [this is the implication]: The slave5 of a man may be forcibly circumcised but no son of a man6 may be forcibly circumcised. And the Rabbis?7 — 'Ulla replied: As you, admittedly, may not by force circumcise the son of a man8 so you may not forcibly circumcise the slave of a man. But, surely, there is the Scriptural text, Every man's slave!9 — That text is required for a deduction made by Samuel. For Samuel stated: If a man declared his slave to be ownerless that slave acquires thereby his freedom and requires no deed of emancipation; for it is stated in Scripture. Every man's slave that is bought for money,3 [could it mean] the slave of a man and not the slave of a woman?10 But [the meaning is that] a slave who is under his master's control is a proper11 slave but he who is not under his master's control is not a proper11 slave.12
R. Papa demurred: It might be suggested that the Rabbis were heard13 in respect of a woman of goodly form14 only,15 because she16 is under no obligation to observe the commandments; but that in respect of a slave,17 who is under the obligation of observing commandments, even the Rabbis agree!18 For it was indeed taught. 'Both a proselyte and a slave bought from an idolater must make19 a declaration of acceptance'.20 Thus it follows21 that a slave bought from an Israelite need not make a declaration of acceptance.20 Now, whose view is this? If that of R. Simeon b. Eleazar, he, surely, had stated that even a slave bought from an idolater need make no declaration of acceptance!22 Consequently it must be the view of the Rabbis; and so it may be inferred that only a slave bought from an idolater is required to make a declaration of acceptance20 but a slave bought from an Israelite is not required to make a declaration of acceptance.23 But then the contradiction from the statement 'The same law applies to a proselyte and to an emancipated slave'24 remains! — That25 was taught only with reference to the ablution.26
Our Rabbis taught: And she shall shave her head, and do27 her nails,28 R. Eliezer said, 'She shall cut them'.29 R. Akiba said, 'She shall let them grow'. R. Eliezer said:30 An act31 was mentioned in respect of the head, and an act was mentioned in respect of the nails;32 as the former signifies removal, so does the latter also signify removal. R. Akiba said:30 An act31 was mentioned in respect of the head and an act was mentioned in respect of the nails;32 as disfigurement is the purpose of the former so is disfigurement the purpose of the latter. The following, however, supports the view of R. Eliezer: And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and he had neither dressed his feet, nor had he done33 'his beard;34 by 'doing'35 removal was meant.
Our Rabbis taught: And bewail her father aid her mother;36
R. Eliezer said: 'Her father' means her actual father; 'Her mother', her actual mother. R. Akiba said: 'Her father and her mother' refer to idolatry; for so Scripture says, Who say to a stock;1 'Thou art my father', etc.2 A full month, 'month' means thirty days. R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: Ninety days. For 'month' means thirty days; 'full',3 thirty days; 'and after that' thirty days. Rabina demurred: Might it not be suggested that 'month' means thirty days; 'full', thirty days; 'and after that' as many again!4 — This is a difficulty.
Our Rabbis taught: Uncircumcised slaves may be retained; this is the opinion of R. Ishmael. R. Akiba said: They may not be retained.5 Said R. Ishmael to him: Behold it is written, And the son of thy handmaid may be refreshed!6 'This text', the other replied. speaks of a slave that has been bought at twilight,7 when there was not time enough to circumcise him.8
All at any rate agree that And the son of thy handmaid may be refreshed6 was written in respect of an uncircumcised slave; whence may this be inferred? — From what has been taught: And the son of thy handmaid may be refreshed,6 Scripture speaks of an uncircumcised slave. You say. 'Of an uncircumcised slave'; perhaps it is not so9 but of a circumcised slave? Since it has been stated 'That thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou,10 the circumcised slave has already been spoken of; to what then is one to apply 'And the son of thy handmaid may be refreshed?'11 Obviously to an uncircumcised slave. And the stranger12 refers to a domiciled proselyte.13 You say. 'It refers to a domiciled proselyte'; perhaps it is not so,14 but to a true proselyte?15 Since it was stated, No' thy strange' that is with its thy gates,10 the true proselyte has already been mentioned; to what then is one to apply, and the stranger?12 Obviously, to the domiciled proselyte.
R. Joshua b. Levi said: If a man bought a slave from an idolater, and the slave refused to be circumcised, he may bear with him for twelve months. [If by that time he had] not been circumcised, he must re-sell him to idolaters.
The following was said by the Rabbis in the presence of R. Papa: In accordance with whose view?16 Obviously not in accordance with that of R. Akiba, since he17 stated [that uncircumcised slaves] may not be retained.18 R. Papa answered them: It may be said to be the view even of R. Akiba; for this19 applies when no definite consent has ever been given;20 but where definite consent21 had once been given,22 his original decision is taken into consideration.23
R. Kahana stated: I mentioned this reported discussion in the presence of R. Zebid of Nehardea and he said to me: If so, instead of R. Akiba replying24 that '[the text speaks] of a slave that has been bought at twilight'. he should rather have given this reply!25 — He gave him one of the two available solutions.
Rabin sent a message in the name of R. Il'ai, [adding]. 'All my masters have so reported in his name': Who is an uncircumcised slave that may be retained? He who was bought by his master with the intention of not having him circumcised.
The Rabbis argued the following in the presence of R. Papa; In accordance with whose view?26 Obviously not in accordance with that of R. Akiba, since he27 stated that [uncircumcised slaves] may not be retained! R. Papa answered: It may be said to be the view even of R. Akiba, for this28 applies where he had made no stipulation with him,29 but where a stipulation29 was made, that stipulation must be taken into consideration.30
R. Kahana said: When I mentioned the reported discussion in the presence of R. Zebid of Nehardea, he said to me: If so, instead of R. Akiba having recourse to the answer31 [that 'the text speaks] of a slave who has been bought at twilight when there was not time enough to circumcise him' he should rather have given this reply!32
But even if your argument is admitted he should rather have given that reply!33 But [the fact is], he mentioned one of two or three solutions.
R. Hanina b. Papi. R. Ammi, and R. Isaac Nappaha once sat in the ante-chamber34 of R. Isaac Nappaha, and while there, they related: There was a certain town in the Land of Israel where slaves refused to be circumcised, and after bearing with them for twelve months they re-sold them to idolaters. In accordance with whose view? — In accordance with that of the following Tanna. For it was taught: If one bought a slave from an idolater, and the slave refused to be circumcised, he bears with him for twelve months. [If by that time] he has not been circumcised, he re-sells him to idolaters. R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: In the Land of Israel he must not be kept owing to [possible] damage to levitically clean foodstuffs,35 and in a town which is near the frontier36 he must not he kept at all, since he might overhear some secret and proceed to report it to a fellow idolater.37
It was taught: R. Hanania son of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: Why are proselytes at the present time oppressed and visited with afflictions? Because they had not observed the seven Noahide38 commandments.39
R. Jose said: One who has become a proselyte is like a child newly born.40 Why then are proselytes oppressed? — Because they are not so well acquainted with the details of the commandments as the Israelites.41
Abba Hanan said in the name of R. Eleazar: Because they do not do it42 out of love43 but out of fear.44 Others said: Because they delayed their entry under the wings of the Shechinah. Said R. Abbahu, or it might be said R. Hanina: What is the Scriptural proof?45 — The Lord recompense thy work, and be thy reward complete from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose etc. thou art cone to take refuge.46
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