Babylonian Talmud, Book 3: Tracts Tracts Pesachim, Yomah and Hagiga, tr. by Michael L. Rodkinson, , at sacred-texts.com
REGULATIONS CONCERNING ARTICLES WHICH CAUSE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW PROHIBITING LEAVEN TO BE SEEN OR FOUND IN THE HOUSE OF AN ISRAELITE.
MISHNA: The law (prohibiting leaven to be seen or found in the house) on Passover is transgressed by the following articles: Babylonian Kuthach, 1 Median beer (made of wheat or barley), Edomite vinegar (made by the fermentation of barley and wine), Egyptian zeethum, 2 the dough of bran used by dyers, the dough used by cooks, 3 and the paste used by scribes (to paste the sheets of paper together). R. Eliezer says, also the ornaments used by women. This is the general rule: What is composed of any kind of grain can cause a transgression of the law of Passover, and they that become guilty of such a transgression incur the penalty attached to the transgression of a negative commandment 4 (i.e., a commandment commencing with "thou shalt not"); but not the penalty of Kareth (being cut off).
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: "Three things were said in reference to Babylonian Kuthach: It depresses the heart, blinds the eyes, and makes the body lean. It depresses the heart on account of the whey contained therein, it blinds the eyes on account of the salt, and makes the body lean on account of the mould (on the bread)."
They also taught the three things which cause much waste (in Tract Erubin, page 171).
They also taught: "Three things lessen waste, make the body erect, and increase the light of the eyes, and they are: Bread made of fine meal, fat flesh of a virgin she-goat, and
three-year-old wine. As a general thing, all things that are good for the eyes affect the heart and other parts of the body, while those that are good for the heart affect the eyes, excepting moist ginger 1 and pepper-pods and the three things mentioned above."
Median beer and Edomite vinegar are prohibited, because they are both made of barley.
What is Egyptian zeethum? R. Joseph taught: "A mixture of equal parts of barley, salt, and wild saffron," but R. Papa substitutes wheat for barley. The ingredients of this mixture are soaked, then parched over the fire, and afterwards ground. (When the liquid is fermented) it is usually drunk from Passover to Pentecost. One who is constipated is relieved thereby, and diarrhœa is stopped. For a sick person or a pregnant woman it is a dangerous beverage.
"The dough of bran used by dyers," etc. This was explained to mean water of bran used to remove spots on the chest. (This is according to the explanation of Rashi in Tract Chulin and of Maimonides.)
"The dough used by cooks," etc. This is explained to mean dough made of grain which had only been one-third mature, and when kneaded into dough and placed over a boiling pot of victuals would attract all the impurities in the pot.
"Paste used by scribes." This was explained to mean glue; but R. Shimi of Huzana said, that this is a cosmetic used by the daughters of rich men for the hair, and the reason it is called "paste used by scribes" is, because the rich women would leave it for the use of the daughters of the poor scribes, and he does not concur in the opinion that it means glue, because it would in that event be called "paste used by shoemakers." Said R. Oshiya: "It is glue, and the reason it is called 'paste used by scribes' is because scribes also paste their sheets together therewith."
"R. Eliezer says also ornaments of women." What connection have ornaments with the Passover? Read instead of ornaments, paste used by women to adorn themselves, as R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: The daughters of Israel who have not yet attained the age of puberty, but have all the signs thereof, are ashamed in consequence, and the poor conceal those
signs with chalk, the rich with fine meal, and daughters of princes with oil of myrrh, as is written in Esther ii. 12.
"This is the general rule," etc. Said R. Jehoshua: If the general rule was made that all things which are composed of any kind of grain cause a transgression of the law of Passover, what need was there of enumerating all the articles mentioned in the Mishna? This was done in order to acquaint the people with the names of those articles in order that they might not commit an error, as it happened that a Palestinian came to Babylon, and having some meat in his possession asked for something to eat with the meat. He heard his host order that he be given Kuthach, and having heard the name Kuthach he refused to accept it.
They that become guilty, etc., incur the penalty attached to the transgression of a negative commandment. Who is the Tana who holds that suitable leaven combined with other ingredients, and unfit leaven by itself, also comes under the prohibition of the negative commandment? R. Jehudah said in the name of Rabh: "That is R. Meir," and R. Na'hman said: "It is R. Eliezer," as we have learned in a Boraitha: "For the transgression of the law with leaven of suitable grain the penalty is Kareth; but if combined with other ingredients the penalty is that attached to the transgression of a negative commandment. Such is the decree of R. Eliezer; the sages, however, maintain that with leaven proper the penalty is Kareth; but if combined with other ingredients no penalty whatever is incurred." Now, if R. Eliezer holds that the penalty for using leaven combined with other ingredients is the same as that attached to the transgression of a negative commandment, so much the more would the use of leaven itself, even if it be unfit, make one incur the same penalty.
We have learned a Boraitha in accordance with R. Jehudah: It is written [Exod. xii. 20]: "Nothing that is leavened shall ye eat," which means to include Babylonian Kuthach, Median beer, Egyptian zeethum, and Edomite vinegar. Shall we assume that these articles, if used, would make a man incur the penalty of Kareth? To that end it is written [ibid. 15]: "Whosoever eateth leavened bread, that soul shall be cut off," whence we infer, that only one who cats leavened bread made of suitable grain incurs the penalty of Kareth; but one who eats such as is combined with other ingredients only incurs the penalty attached to the transgression of a negative commandment. Now, then, who
is the Tana who holds that the use of leaven combined with other ingredients make one incur the penalty attached to the transgression of a negative commandment? R. Eliezer; but we do not learn that he classes unfit leaven in the same category as that of mixed leaven, and for the simple reason that be does not consider the use of unfit leaven a violation of the law. (Hence the Tana who also holds the use of unfit leaven to constitute a transgression of the law is R. Meir.)
Whence does R. Eliezer adduce that the use of leaven combined with the other ingredients constitutes a transgression of the law? From the passage, "Nothing that is leavened shall ye eat," and he means to say that "nothing" includes also leaven combined with the ingredients. How will he explain the "whosoever" 1 in the other passage [Exod. xii. 15]? That includes women, who must also not eat leavened bread on Passover.
Did not R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh say, that women are held to be equal to men as far as all prohibitory laws are concerned, on account of the passage [Numbers v. 6]: "If any man or woman commit any sin"? In this case a special passage prohibiting the eating of leavened bread by women is essential, for the following reason: The negative commandment prohibiting the eating of leavened bread and the positive ordaining the eating of unleavened bread [Deut. xvi. 3] being written together, we might assume that only those who are obliged to eat Matzoth must not eat Chometz; and as the women are not obliged to eat Matzoth, because the positive commandment ordaining the eating of Matzoth is dependent upon the time, 2 we might assume that women may eat Chometz; hence we are told by the passage, "Whosoever eateth leavened bread, etc., shall be cut off."
Now, if we have arrived at the conclusion that women must not eat Chometz, we may add, that they are also obliged to eat Matzoth, and this is in accordance with the opinion of R. Eliezer, who said, that women are biblically obliged to eat Matzoth; because the negative and positive commandments are consequent one upon the other, I say, that as they must observe
the negative commandant prohibiting the eating of Chometz, so must they also observe the positive commandment ordaining the eating of Matzoth.
Why is it adduced that the "all" (Kol) in the passage means to include women and to exclude leaven combined with other ingredients? Say, that the "all" also means to include leaven combined with other ingredients. Common sense precludes this supposition; because the passage refers to those who had eaten; hence if anything should be included, it must be that which is also capable of being eaten, but not things that are eaten, as leaven combined with other ingredients.
MISHNA: Should there be any dough in the (holes or) crevices of a kneading-trough, and there is as much as the size of an olive in any one place, it must be removed immediately; but if there be less than that quantity in any one place, it may be considered as not in existence, being so inconsiderable. Thus it is also with respect to defilement: If the owner, however, be particular about the dough, it constitutes an intervention (between the trough and possible defilement, and the trough is not rendered defiled); but if it is desired to leave the dough in the trough, it should be considered as an integral part of the trough.
GEMARA: "If there be less than that quantity," etc. Said R. Jehudah in the name of Samuel: "This applies to a case,: where the dough was placed in the crevice of the trough in order to strengthen the trough; but if it is not there for that purpose it must be forthwith removed." Whence we infer, that even if there was a piece of the size of an olive in the crevice of a trough for the purpose of strengthening it, it must also be removed. We have learned to this effect in a Boraitha:
Dough which was placed in the crevices of a kneading-trough for the purpose of strengthening it does not constitute an intervention to defilement nor a transgression of the law of Passover; but if it be found in places where it was not necessary, in order to make the trough firmer, it does constitute an intervention and does cause a transgression of the law. All this is said of dough which was less than the size of an olive; but if it was of that size, even if it was used to make the trough firmer, it must forthwith be removed.
Said R. Na'hman in the name of Samuel: "If there were two pieces of dough each the size of half an olive in the trough, and happened to be connected with a thread, they are considered
as a whole olive, provided when the thread is lifted both pieces are carried with it, otherwise they are not and may remain in the trough." Said Ula: "This applies to dough situated in the trough; but if the two pieces were not in a trough but in the house, and being connected by a thread would not be carried with the thread, if lifted, they must nevertheless forthwith be removed, lest they in some manner become joined and there will be leaven in the house to the size of an olive."
The rabbis taught: If bread had become mouldy and while unfit for a human being could be eaten by a dog, it is subject to defilement as long as it is of the size of an egg, and may be burned together with unclean things on Passover, even though it be itself clean (heave-offering). Upon the authority of R. Nathan it was said, however, that not being fit for a human being it cannot be subject to defilement.
The rabbis taught: If in a trough of the tanners flour had been put within the three days preceding the Passover, it should be removed; but if it had been placed prior to that time, it need not be removed. This is said of a case where no skins had been placed in the trough by the tanner; but if this had been done, even flour placed in the trough during the three days need not be removed. Said Rabha: "The Halakha prevails according to R. Nathan, and even if the flour was put in one day, yea, even one hour before Passover, it need not be removed."
"If the owner, however, be particular about the dough," etc. How can defilement be compared to the laws of Passover. Concerning the latter it depends entirely upon the size, while as for the former, it depends upon whether the owner is particular about it or not? Said R. Papa: The Mishna should be explained thus: "So it is also with respect to defilement on Passover, if it be of the size prescribed on that festival; and 'if the owner be particular,' etc., refers to any other time of the year." How should this be understood? In this wise: If a reptile contaminated such dough on the Passover, and the dough, being of the size of an olive, is for the time being a prohibited thing; hence it serves as an intervention between the uncleanness (of the reptile) and the trough; but at any other time it depends whether the owner is particular about it or not. If he is, it proves an intervention; but if he intends to leave it in the trough, it does not.
MISHNA: Dull dough (which does not exhibit any signs of having risen) must not be used, if another dough which had been
kneaded at the same time and was of equal size and quality had already become leavened.
GEMARA: How is it if there is no other dough on hand (with which to compare the dull dough)? Said R. Abuhai in the name of Resh Lakish: "If it had lain the length of time it is required to walk from the tower of Nunia to Tiberias," which is a mile.
MISHNA: How can the first of the dough (due the priest) be separated on the Passover when it had become unclean? R. Eliezer says: "It should only be named after it had been baked." Ben Bathyra says, however, "It should be put in cold water." Said R. Jehudah to him: "This is not the leaven concerning which it is written, 'It shall not be seen nor found in thy house.' Therefore it may be separated, and left lying until evening, regardless of whether it become leavened or not."
GEMARA: It was taught: He who bakes on a festival for the coming week-days, R. Hisda says, incurs the penalty of stripes; but Rabba says, that he does not. R. Hisda says, that he incurs that penalty because he does not admit of the supposition that, had the man called guests, he could have consumed the entire quantity baked, while Rabba holds, that because this could have been done (whether it was done or not) the man is not culpable.
Said Rabba to R. Hisda: "If thou dost not admit of this supposition, how then can it be allowed to cook on a festival for the Sabbath?" and R. Hisda answered: "By means of the Erub of cooked things." 1 "May, then, a biblical prohibition be disregarded even by means of such an Erub?" queried Rabba, and R. Hisda replied: "Cooking on a festival for the Sabbath is, according to biblical law, permissible, and the sages only prohibited it as a precautionary measure, lest some people would cook on a festival for week-days. Hence an Erub of cooked things is a sign that this must not be done."
Rabba objected: "We have learned: 'An animal which is supposed to be in danger of dying must not be slaughtered on a festival, unless there will be sufficient time after the slaughtering to roast and eat a piece of the size of an olive.' Thus we see, that there must be sufficient time to roast and eat a piece of that size, even if the man have no desire to eat it. According to my opinion, from the fact that I admit of the supposition
that he could eat it, the man is allowed to slaughter the animal; but according to thy opinion, if thou dost not admit of such a supposition, how can the man be allowed to slaughter the dying animal?" R. Hisda replied: "In this case, where a pecuniary injury would have resulted, the prohibition was removed," and Rabba rejoined: "Will, then, a biblical prohibition be disregarded on account of a pecuniary injury?" "Yea," answered R. Hisda; "on account of such pecuniary injury the man would make up his mind to eat a piece of that animal of the size of an olive, and as he cannot do this unless the animal is ritually slaughtered, it is permitted to slaughter it."
Said Rami bar Hama: "The same point of difference as was quoted between R. Hisda and Rabba exists between R. Eliezer and R. Jehoshua. R. Eliezer admits of the supposition (that a certain act was done whether it was done or not); therefore he decrees, that the dough should first be baked and then named; because he holds that while the man is baking for himself he can bake for another also. R. Jehoshua does not admit of such a supposition and hence decrees, that the first of the dough should be separated before baking."
Rejoined R. Papa: "(How canst thou say of a certainty that R. Eliezer and R. Jehoshua differ concerning this supposition?) Perhaps R. Eliezer only admits of the supposition in a case of where a man, when baking each loaf of bread, may do so for himself alone (and afterwards separate a piece of a loaf as the legal first dough for all, which would not involve much labor); but as for the instance cited in the controversy between R. Hisda and Rabba, where it was an impossibility to consume the bread baked on a festival for the week-days without calling guests, and the supposition is, that guests were called, it may be that R. Eliezer in that case does not admit of such a supposition." Said R. Shesha the son of R. Idi: "Perhaps the argument may be reversed, namely: 'In the case of loaves subject to the legal first of the dough, where it is a certainty that one of the loaves must not be used by the owner nor by anybody else, R. Jehoshua does not admit of the supposition, whereas in the point of controversy between R. Hisda and Rabba, where all the loaves baked may be eaten, if not by the man himself by guests, R. Jehoshua may admit of the supposition (that guests were called).'"
The sages related the above to R. Jeremiah and R. Zera. R. Jeremiah accepted (the view of Rami bar Hama); but R.
[paragraph continues] Zera would not. Said R. Jeremiah to the latter: "Should the decision of a question which for such a length of time remained unanswered and was finally decided by so great a man as Rami bar Hama, not be accepted by us?" and he answered: How can I accept it? Have we not learned in a Boraitha that R. Jehoshua said to R. Eliezer: "According to thy decree permitting the baking of the dough and the subsequent naming thereof, would the man not be culpable of transgressing the law contained in the passage [Exod. xii. 16], 'No manner of work shall be done on them (the festival-days),' and R. Eliezer did not reply. Should be not have said: 'My reason is based upon "supposition"'?" Rejoined R. Jeremiah: "And according to thy opinion, does the teaching in another Boraitha, that R. Eliezer said to R. Jehoshua: Will not, according to thy decree, a man be culpable for the transgression of the law, 'It shall not be seen nor found in thy house,' and the failure of R. Jehoshua to answer, prove that he could make no reply to the query? Is it not answered in the Mishna by 'this is not the leaven referred to by that passage'? Hence the former Boraitha brings only the question, but not the answer, and the answer may be found elsewhere."
We have learned in a Boraitha: Rabbi said: "The Halakha prevails according to R. Eliezer," and R. Itz'hak said: "The Halakha prevails according to Ben Bathyra."
How much must the quantity of the dough under discussion be? Said R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan ben Berokah: "If made of wheat it must be two Kabh, but if made of barley three Kabh." Did we not learn in another Boraitha that the same R. Ishmael said: "If made of wheat, three Kabh, and if made of barley four?" This presents no difficulty. One Boraitha treats of good grain and the other of poor grain.
Rabh said: "The measure of dough to be prepared on Passover is a Kabh as used in Lugan, and the same measure applies to a dough of which legal first must be acquitted (to the priests)."
Have we not learned in a Mishna, however, that a trifle over five quarters of meal (equal to five lugs as used in Sepphoris and to seven lugs and a trifle over as used in the desert, which in turn equalled an Omer) are subject to the first of the dough? A Kabh of Lugan contains about the same quantity.
Said R. Joseph: "Our wives bake bread in small quantities on the Passover, not over three lugs of meal at a time," and
[paragraph continues] Abayi remarked: "Thou wouldst suppose that they do this in order to observe the more rigorous interpretation of the Passover law? However, a more lenient ordinance is thereby observed, namely: They thus become exempt from the duty of acquitting the first of the dough," and R. Joseph replied: "Nay; they do this in accordance with the opinion of R. Eliezer, who said in a Mishna elsewhere, that the basket wherein the loaves are deposited combine the quantities, and they acquit themselves of the duty of the first of the dough from the combined quantity of loaves, and R. Jehudah said in the name of Samuel, that the Halakha prevails according to R. Eliezer."
MISHNA: Rabbon Gamaliel says: "Three women may knead dough on the Passover at the same time and bake it in the same oven, one after the other"; but the sages say: "Three women may occupy themselves with their dough, but in the following manner: one should knead the dough, another form it, and the third bake it." R. Aqiba said: "Not all women, nor all wood, nor all ovens are alike." This is the rule: as soon as the dough rises, let the woman plunge her hand in cold water (in order to moisten the dough).
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: The same woman who kneads should also moisten the dough, and the one next to her should then take up the kneading; while the former is baking the latter should moisten the dough, and the third woman should take up kneading. Thus the first woman will commence kneading while the last is moistening the dough, and so on in rotation. The principle thereof is, that so long as the dough is being handled it does not become leavened.
"R. Aqiba says," etc. We have learned in a Boraitha: "R. Aqiba said: I argued thus before Rabbon Gamaliel: 'Let our Master teach us whether skilled or inexperienced women are meant; whether dry or damp wood is spoken of; whether a heated or a cooled stove is under consideration,' and he answered: 'We need only follow the teachings of the sages (and not concern ourselves as to details), but this bear in mind as the rule: As soon as the dough rises, let the woman moisten the dough.'"
MISHNA: Dough which commences to become leavened must be burned; but the person who had eaten it does not incur the penalty of Kareth (being cut off). Dough which becomes riven must be burned, and whosoever eats it incurs the penalty of Kareth. When is a dough considered as about to become
leavened? When small rents can be observed, standing apart in different directions like the feelers of locusts. When is a dough to be considered riven? When the rents cross each other; such is the dictum of R. Jehudah, but the sages say: Whoever eats either kind of dough incurs the penalty of Kareth. When is a dough considered about to become leavened? When (no rents are visible, but) its surface becomes pale like the face of a person whose hair stands on end (through fright).
GEMARA: The rabbis taught: What is called dough about to become leavened? If its surface becomes pale as the face of a man whose hair stands on end. What is called riven dough? If there are rents visible, standing apart like the feelers of a locust. Such is the dictum of R. Meir; the sages, however, maintain: When the rents standing apart like the feelers of a locust are visible, the dough is considered about to become leavened, and when the rents cross each other, the dough is considered riven. Whosoever eats either kind incurs the penalty of Kareth. Have we not learned in our Mishna that dough about to become leavened must be burned, but one who eats it does not incur that penalty and that such is the decree of R. Jehudah? The Mishna should be supplemented with the statement: According to R. Meir, whosoever eats either kind incurs the penalty of Kareth.
Said Rabha: "What reason has R. Meir for his decree?" According to R. Meir, there can be no rents on the surface, even if they stand apart like the feelers of locusts, that have not many rents underneath which may even cross each other.
MISHNA: If the fourteenth (of Nissan) fall on the Sabbath, all leaven must be removed before the Sabbath commences. Such is the dictum of R. Meir; but the sages say that it should be done at the proper time. R. Elazer 1 ben Zadok says: "The heave-offering must be removed before the Sabbath, and non-consecrated things at the proper time."
GEMARA: We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Elazer ben Zadok said: "Once my father spent the Sabbath in Yemen (Yamnia), and that Sabbath being the fourteenth (of Nissan), Zunin, the supervisor of R. Gamaliel's household, came and said: 'It is time to remove the leaven.' So I went with my father, and we removed the leaven."
MISHNA: If a man (on the 14th of Nissan) went to slaughter his Passover sacrifice, or to circumcise his son, or to eat the betrothal-meal at the house of his father-in-law, and on the road recollects that he has left leaven in his house: if he can return home, remove it, and then go back and accomplish any of the acts mentioned, he should do so and remove the leaven; but if he cannot, he should in his mind renounce (the use of the leaven). If his object in leaving home was to aid persons to escape from armed foes, from inundation, robbers, or fire, or to rescue persons from beneath the ruins of fallen buildings, he should in his mind renounce the leaven; but if his object in leaving home was to secure his sabbatical resting-place for his private purposes (in order to obtain his right to the legal limits), he must immediately return and remove the leaven. Likewise, if a person on leaving Jerusalem remembers having in his possession consecrated flesh: if he had gone beyond (the hill) Zophim, he may burn it wherever he may be; but if he had not gone beyond it, he must return and burn it before the sanctuary, with wood of the altar. What is the quantity (of consecrated flesh or leaven) which makes it obligatory for a man to return? R. Meir says: "Either must be of the size of an egg." R. Jehudah says: "Of the size of an olive"; but the sages say: "Consecrated flesh if of the size of an olive and leaven if of the size of an egg."
GEMARA: There is a contradiction: (We have learned): "One who goes to eat the betrothal-meal at the house of his father-in-law or to secure his sabbatical resting-place for his private purposes, should, if he remembered having leaven in his house, return immediately and remove it." Said R. Hisda: "The point of difference between this teaching and the Mishna is only concerning the second meal (after the betrothal); but as for the first, all agree, that it is a religious duty and the man need not return."
We have learned in a Boraitha: "R. Jehudah said: 'I only heard concerning the actual betrothal-meal, but not concerning the meal at which the bridal gifts are bestowed.' Said R. Jose to him: 'I heard concerning both.'"
We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Simeon said: "A meal which is not served on account of some religious duty should not be enjoyed by a Talmud-chacham (scholar)." What kind of a meal is referred to as not being served on account of a religious duty? Said R. Johanan: "The betrothal-meal served
when an ordinary Israelite weds the daughter of a priest, or when a common person weds the daughter of a Talmud-chacham (scholar)"; for R. Johanan would always maintain, that such alliances do not end well. This is not so! Did not R. Johanan say elsewhere, that he who would become rich should ally himself to the descendants of Aaron, when the union of prestige and learning will make him rich? This presents no difficulty. For a scholar it is beneficial to wed a priest's daughter, but not for one of the common people.
R. Jehoshua wedded the daughter of a priest. Subsequently he became ill, and said: "Is then Aaron not contented to have his descendants receive me as a son-in-law?
R. Idi bar Abhin also wedded a priest's daughter, and they brought forth two sons, both of whom were admitted to fellowship (i.e., were entitled to be ranked as rabbis). They were R. Shesheth and R. Jehoshua.
R. Papa said: "If I had not wedded a priest's daughter I should never have become rich;" but R. Kahana said: "If I had not married a priest's daughter I should never have gone into exile"; 1 and he was asked: "What hast thou suffered thereby; didst thou not flee to a place of learning?" and he answered: "I did not go into exile voluntarily (to improve my learning or to better my condition), but was compelled to flee from the persecution of the government."
R. Itz'hak said: "One who enjoys a meal which is not served for the sake of a religious duty finally incurs the penalty of exile, as it is written [Amos vi. 4]: 'That eat lambs out of the flock, and calves out of the midst of the stall,' and further, it is said [ibid. 7]: 'Therefore now shall they go into exile.'
The rabbis taught: "A scholar who indulges in too many meals destroys his home, makes his wife a widow, his children orphans, his knowledge vanishes; he becomes involved in strife, his words are disregarded, he profanes the name of Heaven, puts to shame the name of his teacher and the name of his father, and leaves behind him an ill-repute for himself, and his children unto the end of his generations."
The rabbis taught: "A man should sell all his possessions and wed the daughter of a scholar; for should he die or be forced to go into exile be will be assured that his sons will be scholars, and he should not wed a daughter of the common people; for
should he die or be forced to go into exile, his children will be common persons.
The rabbis taught: "A man should sell all his possessions in order to secure a scholar as a husband for his daughter. This can be compared to grapes which are planted among other grapes in a vineyard, where they are readily assimilated and present a good appearance. If, however, a common person is secured as a husband, it is like planting grapes among thorns, where they cannot thrive."
The rabbis taught: "A man should sell all his possessions and secure the daughter of a scholar for a wife, and if he cannot secure the daughter of a scholar he should try to obtain a daughter of one of the most prominent men of the age. If he cannot succeed in that, he should endeavor to obtain a daughter of the most prominent men in his community; and failing in that, should seek the daughter of a man known to be charitable; and if he cannot succeed even in this, he should try and obtain the daughter of a teacher of children; only should he avoid wedding the daughter of a common person."
We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Aqiba said: When I was still a common (ignorant) man, I used to say: "If I could lay my hands on a scholar I would bite him like an ass," and his disciples said to him: Rabbi, say 'like a dog,' an ass does not bite," and he replied: When an ass bites he generally breaks the bones of his victim, while a dog only bites the flesh."
We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Meir said: "One who gives his daughter to a common person virtually casts her to a lion; for as a lion tears and devours his victim without shame, so does a common person beat his wife, then they come together again and he is not ashamed."
We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Eliezer said: "If the common people did not require us for their own welfare, they would slay us."
R. Hyya taught: "A man who occupies himself with the study of the Law in the presence of a common person evokes as much hatred from that person as if he had stolen his bride. As it is written [Deut. xxxiii. 4]: "The law which Moses commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob." Do not read מורשה (inheritance), but מאורסה (betrothed). For the enmity of a common person toward a scholar is even more intense than that of the heathens towards Israelites, and that of their wives even greater than their own. A Boraitha
stated: That whosoever was at first a scholar and then resigned his studies, and became a common man, is even worse than if he were entirely ignorant.
"If a person on leaving Jerusalem," etc.: We have learned in a Boraitha: R. Nathan said: "The quantity for either (the consecrated flesh or leaven) must be the size of two eggs but the sages did not coincide with him.
It is written [Zechariah xiv. 6]: "And it shall come to pass on that day, that there shall be no light, but fleeting light and thick darkness." What is meant by "fleeting light and thick darkness"? He means to point out, that what is considered a strong light in this world is nothing but fleeting light in the world to come. So said R. Elazar; but R. Jehoshua ben Levi said: "The passage means to state, that those men who are considered enlightened in this world are enveloped in darkness in the world to come," as it happened that R. Jose the son of R. Jehoshua ben Levi once fell in a trance, and upon awakening was asked by his father what he had seen while in his apparently lifeless state, and he answered: "I saw a reversed world: Those who are at the head in this world were at the bottom there, and those who are at the bottom here were at the head there." And his father said to him: "My child, thou hast seen the right world! But how do we scholars appear there?" and R. Jose replied: "We are on the same footing there as we are here. I also heard it said there: Well is to the man who hath brought his learning with him, and further, it was said: The place of those who had suffered death (had been martyrs) for the glory of God cannot be entered by any other man." Does this refer to R. Aqiba and his companions? Were they accorded that place merely because they were martyrs; did they then possess no other merits? Therefore this must refer to the two brothers who sacrificed themselves at Lud (Lydda). 1
It is written [Zechariah xiv. 9]: "And the Lord will be king over all the earth; on that day shall the Lord be (acknowledged) one, and His name be one." What is meant by "on that day"? Is He not one even to-day? Said R. A'ha bar Hanina: This world is not like the world to come. In this world, when
good tidings are received, a man says: 'Blessed be He who is good and doth good to others,' and the recipient of bad tidings says: 'Blessed be He who judgeth in truth'; but in the world to come the first benediction only will be pronounced, for there shall be no more bad tidings." Why is it said: "His name shall be one," is His name not one even to-day? Said R. Na'hman bar Itz'hak: "Not as this world is the world to come. In this world the Name is written Yahveh and pronounced Adonai, while in the world to come it will be pronounced as it is written."
Rabha wished to preach concerning the name of Yahveh from the pulpit; so a certain elder said to him: "In the passage [Exod. iii. 15] where it is written: 'This is my name forever,' the word Olam, which when written Ayin, Vav, Lamed, Mem, means 'forever,' is written in that passage Ayin, Lamed, Mem, which also signifies 'concealed.' Hence the name of the Lord should be concealed and not openly discussed."
R. Abbini propounded a contradictory question about the same passage: In the first part it says: "This is my name Leolam (concealed)," and in the last part it says, "This is my memorial unto all generations"? And he answered: So said the Holy One, blessed be He: Not as I (my name) am written shall I also be pronounced. I am written Yahveh and am pronounced Adonai.
68:1 This is explained to be a mixture of mouldy bread with milk and salt, used as a sauce for food.
68:2 According to the Talmud, this is a mixture of barley, salt, and wild saffron, while according to Pliny, who calls it "zythum," it is a medicine of Egyptian origin.
68:3 A dough used to attract the impurities in a pot where food is boiling.
68:4 The penalty for such transgression is chastisement with thirty-nine stripes.
69:1 The Hebrew term which we render with ginger is Zangbila, and according to other versions it is supposed to be sandal-wood.
71:1 Both passages quoted contain the word "Kol," Hebrew for "all"; and the Passages should read: "All that is leavened shall ye not eat" and "All who eat leavened bread shall be cut off," etc. Hence the analogous comparison made in the above paragraph.
71:2 Vide page 71.
74:1 See introduction to Tract Erubin.
78:1 According to Strack, referring to Frankl, Brill, and Bacher. But Heilpern in, his Seder Hadoreth and Mielziner in his introduction to the Talmud, Eliezer.
80:1 R. Kahana was forced to flee from Babylon to Palestine.
82:1 It is related in Tract Taanith that a daughter of a prince in that city having been murdered, the crime was attributed to all the Israelites, when, in order to save their co-religionists, who were innocent of the crime, two brothers went up and confessed that they had committed the murder (although they were also innocent), thus shielding their brethren from persecution.--RASHI.