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The Babylonian Talmud in Selection, by Leo Auerbach, [1944], at

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(Tractate Pessahim)

ON THE eve of the fourteenth (of Nisan) a search for leavened matter is conducted by the light of a candle. Any place where leavened matter is not brought in does not require searching. Why was it said that in the cellar, two rows must be searched? Because it is a place where leavened matter might be brought in. The House of Shamai says: Two rows of the whole cellar must be searched. But the House of Hillel says only the two outer rows, the top rows.



RABBI Nahman ben Isaac said: We learned; every one is relied upon for the search for leavened matter, even women, slaves, and children. Why is that? For it is taken for granted that the house has been searched. It is the view of the learned that all are brothers as regards the searching for leavened matter. And we learned that if a brother dies and leaves a storehouse full of produce even if it be but one day old, it is presumed that the produce has been tithed.


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AS LONG as one is permitted to eat leaven, one may feed it to the cattle, to beasts and to birds, and one may sell it to a stranger, and may enjoy any benefit of it. But if the time of eating leaven has passed, he is barred from enjoying it. He may not heat an oven or a stove with it. Rab Yehuda says: "There is only one way of disposing of leaven—burning it." But the sages say: It can be shredded and scattered to the winds or thrown into the sea.



AND he may sell it to a stranger. This is obvious. It contradicts the view of the Tanna who said: The House of Shamai taught: A man must not sell his leaven matter to a stranger unless he knows that it will be eaten before the Passover. But the House of Hillel says: As long as one may eat it, he may sell it.



The leaven of a Gentile that has remained after Passover is permitted to a Jew. But one must not use the leaven of a Jew that has remained over Passover. Because it was said: (Exodus xiii, 7) Neither shall be leaven seen with thee.

These are the things with which a man discharges his duties with regard to leavened bread on Passover: Wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats.

And these are the herbs with which a man discharges his duties on Passover: lettuce, chicory, mimosa, endive, and bitter herbs whether they are fresh or dried, but not if they are pickled or stewed or cooked. He fulfills his obligations who consumes the stalks only.

Bran for the chickens must not be soaked, but may be scalded.

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One may not chew wheat and put it on his wound, because it will ferment. The Passover sacrifice may not be boiled in liquids or in fruit juices, but it may be basted with them, or dipped in them. Water that was used by a baker must be poured out, because it will ferment.



ONLY with these, but not with rice and millet. Why these? Rabbi Simon ben Lakish answered: And thus taught the schools of Rabbi Ishmael and of Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob. It was written: (Deuteronomy xvi, 3) Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith. With foods that come to be leavened, one discharges his duty by eating unleavened bread made thereof, but those that do not become leavened, but decay, are excluded.

Thus the Mishnah does not agree with Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri, who teaches that rice is a species of corn, and if one eats it in the leavened state, one is found guilty. For it was taught: Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri forbids rice and millet because it is near leaven. A question was asked: Does near leaven mean that it becomes leavened quickly, or is it meant that it is near leaven, but never becomes leaven?

Rabbi Akiba is of the opinion that dough kneaded with milk, wine, oil or honey may not be used. Indeed, we were taught: Dough must not be kneaded on the Passover with wine, oil or honey; if it was kneaded, in accordance with Rabbi Gamaliel, it must be burned at once. But the sages say it may be eaten. Rabbi Akiba related: When I spent a week with Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, I kneaded for them dough with wine, oil and

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honey, and they said nothing. Though one must not knead, one may smooth the surface with them. This is in accordance with the first Tanna. The sages say: With that milk which one may knead, one may smooth; and they all agree that one must not knead with warm water. There is no controversy here; one speaks of the first day of the Festival while the other speaks of the second day. Thus said Rabbi Joshua to his sons: On the first, knead not for me with milk, but from then on you may knead for me with milk. But it was taught: One must not knead dough with milk, and if one kneaded with milk, the whole loaf is forbidden. This is a precaution because one may get the habit of transgression. Rather, he said thus: Knead not for me with honey on the first day, and knead not for me with honey from then on. If you wish you may say that he spoke thus of milk.



THESE are the things that must be removed on Passover: Babylonian curds, Medean beer, Edomite vinegar, Egyptian beer, dyer's brew, cook's starch, and the paste of scribes. Rabbi Eliezer says: Women's ornaments also. And this is the rule: Everything that was made of any grain must be removed for Passover. These are forbidden as a precaution but they do not incur death penalty.



THREE things were said about Babylonian curds: It stupefies the mind, blinds the eye and weakens the body. It stupefies the mind through the acid; it blinds the eye through the salt, and it weakens the body through the mould.

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The Rabbis taught: Three things accelerate the bowels, bend the stature, and take away five-hundredths of, the eyesight. These are: Coarse bread, raw alcohol and raw cabbage. The Rabbis taught: Three things decrease the movement of the bowels and straighten the stature, and light up the eyes, and these are: Light bread, fatty meat, and old wine. Light bread from fine flour; fatty meat from a goat that was mated; old wine, very old. Everything that may be good for one organ may be harmful for another, and what is harmful for one organ may be good for another. But ginger, long peppers, light bread and fat meat are good for the whole body. "Medean beer" because barley is mixed into it. "Edomite vinegar" because grain is mixed with it. Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac said: At first, when wine for libation was brought from Judea, it never turned to vinegar, unless grain was mixed into it, and that was known as plain vinegar. But now the wine of the Edomites does not turn into vinegar unless grain is mixed into it, and it is called "Edomite vinegar." This. is to fulfill the scripture: (Ezekiel xxvi, 2) I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste. If one is full, the one is waste. If the other is waste, this one is full. Rabbi Nahman ben Isaac used to say: (Gen. xxv, 23) And the one people shall be stronger than the other people.



IF THE fourteenth falls on the Sabbath, the leaven is removed before the Sabbath. Those are the words of Rabbi Meir. But the sages say: They are removed in their usual time. Rabbi Eliezer bar Zadok said: Heave-offering is removed before Sabbath, but ordinary food in its usual time.


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IT WAS taught: Rabbi Eliezer bar Zadok said: Father once spent a Sabbath, on which the fourteenth fell, in Yabneh. When Zonin, one of Rabbi Gamaliel's officers, came in and announced: The time has come to remove the leaven, I went along with father and we removed the leaven.



IF ONE is on his way to slaughter his Paschal-Offering, or to circumcise his son, or to partake of the betrothal feast at his father-in-law's house, and he remembered that he left the unleavened in his home, if he has time to go back and remove it, and then return to fulfill the precept, he should go back and remove the leaven; but if he has not time enough to fulfill both, he should annul the leaven in his heart. If he is on the way to rescue someone from an enemy troop, from a flood, from robbers, from a fire, or from a collapsing structure, he should annul it in his heart. But if he went out just for the enjoyment of the Sabbath he must return at once.



I WILL point out a contradiction. If he is on the way to partake of the betrothal feast in his father-in-law's house, or for the enjoyment of the Sabbath, he must go back at once. Rabbi Yohanan said: There is no contradiction here: One speaks of the view of Rabbi Yehuda, the other of the view of Rabbi Yosi. For we were taught: The betrothal meal is a voluntary function. These are the words of Rabbi Yehuda; but Rabbi Yosi says: It is a precept. However, Rab Hisda says: The argument here refers only to the second feast, because as to the first feast, all agree that it is a religious precept. You

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may, even, say that both views are those of Rabbi Yehuda, for there is no contradiction here; one refers to the first feast while the other refers to the second. It was taught: Rabbi Yehuda said: I heard only of the betrothal feast, but not as regards the feast of the gifts. Rabbi Yosi said: I heard as regards the betrothal feast and the feast of the gifts.

It was taught: Rabbi Simon said: A scholar must not enjoy himself at a feast which is not of a religious character. What is a feast of this kind? Said Rabbi Yohanan, for instance: The betrothal of a daughter of an Israelite to the daughter of a Priest, or the daughter of a scholar to that of an ignoramus. For Rabbi Yohanan said: The marriage of the daughter of a priest and the daughter of an Israelite will not bring good results. How so? Rab Hisda answered: She will either become a widow, or a divorcee, or she will have no children. We learned in a Baraitha: Either he will bury her or she will bury him, or she will bring poverty upon him. But this is not so. For Rabbi Yohanan said: If one wants to become rich, he should join the seed of Aaron, for the Torah and the priesthood will enrich them. There is no controversy here. One refers to a scholar and the other to an ignoramus.

Rabbi Joshua was married to a priest's daughter. When he fell sick once, he said: Aaron is not pleased that I joined his seed and that he should have a son-in-law like me. Rabbi Idis ben Abin was married to a daughter of a priest, and he had two ordained sons: Rabbi Shesheth ben Rabbi Idis and Rabbi Joshua ben Idis. Rab Papa said: Had I not married a priest's daughter, I would not have become rich. Rabbi Kahana said: Had I not

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married the daughter of a priest, I would not be exiled, but he was answered: You were exiled to a place of learning. He answered: But I was not exiled the way other people were exiled.

Rabbi Isaac said: Whoever partakes of general feasts, will eventually be exiled, for it was said: (Amos vi, 4) And eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall. And it was said: (Amos vi, 7) Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive.

The Rabbis taught: A scholar that makes it a habit of eating in every place, will at the end destroy his home, bring widowhood upon his wife, and make his children orphans. He will forget his learning, will be given up to many quarrels. His words will be unheard. He will desecrate the Name of Heaven, the name of his teacher, and the name of his father, and will attach a bad name to himself, to his children and to his children's children, to the end of all generations. In what way? Abaya said: He will be called the son of the glutton. Rabbi said: He will be called a son of a "Tavern Dancer." Rab Papa said: He will be called the son of a "Plate Licker." Rabbi Shemaiah said: The son of a man who sleeps in his clothes.

The Rabbis taught: A man should sell all he possesses and marry the daughter of a scholar, for if he dies or goes into exile, he may be sure that his children will become scholars. But he should not marry the daughter of an ignoramus, for if he dies or goes into exile, his children will be ignorant.

The Rabbis taught: A man should sell all he possesses and marry the daughter of a scholar, or marry

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off his daughter to a scholar. This compares to the grafting of grapes with grapes—a good and acceptable thing. But he should not marry a daughter of an ignoramus. This compares to the grafting of grapes with thorny berries, which is a detestable and an unacceptable thing.

The Rabbis taught: A man should sell all he possesses, and he should marry a daughter of a scholar. If he can not find the daughter of a scholar, he should marry a daughter of a distinguished man of his generation; if he can not find the daughter of a distinguished man, he should marry the daughter of the head of a synagogue; if he can not find a daughter of the head of a synagogue, he should marry the daughter of a head of a charitable organization; if he can not find a daughter of a head of a charitable organization, he should marry the daughter of an elementary school teacher, but he should never marry the daughter of an ignoramus. For they are detestable, their wives are vermin, and of their daughters it was said: (Deuteronomy xxvii, 21) Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast.

Rabbi Akiba said: When I was an ignoramus, I used to say: Who would give a scholar into my hands, I would bite him like an ass. His disciples said to him: Rabbi, say like a dog. He answered: The first bites and breaks the bone, while the other bites, but does not break the bone.

Rabbi Meir used to say: If one marries off his daughter to an ignoramus, it is as if he bound her and laid her before a lion. A lion falls on his prey and devours it, and has no shame. So an ignoramus beats her and mates with her and has no shame.

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Rabbi Eliezer said: If they did not need us for trading with us, they would kill us. Rabbi Hiya taught: If one studies the Torah before an ignoramus, it is as if he mated with his wife in front of him. For it was said: (Deuteronomy xxxiii, 4) Moses commanded us a law the inheritance (Morashah) of the congregation of Jacob. Read not Morashah but Me’Orashah (betrothed) . The hatred of the ignorant towards the learned is greater than the hatred of the Gentiles toward the Jews, and their wives are even worse.

We learned: He that studied and foresook his studies, hates the scholar with more hate than anyone else.

Six things were said of the ignorant: One does not commit testimony to them, and one does not take their testimony; one does not reveal a secret to them; one does not appoint them as guardians for orphans; one does not appoint them as guardians of charity chests, and one does not join their company on a trip.



WHERE the custom is to work on Passover eve until midday one may work until midday, but in a place where the custom is not to work, one must not work.

If a man went from a place where the custom is not to work to a place where the custom is to work, or from a place where the custom is to work to a place where the custom is not to work, he is bound by the stricter custom of the place whence he came, or to the stricter custom of the place to which he has come. But on no account must he act differently from the local custom, because it may lead to strife.


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WHY only on Passover eve? This should refer even to Sabbath eve, or the eve of other festivals. For we learned: Whoever does work on Sabbath eve or on the eves of Festivals, from afternoon prayers onward, shall never see a sign of blessing. There it is said: Only "after" the afternoon prayer he is forbidden to do work, but not "near" the afternoon prayer. But here it is said: From midday on. Then, there he merely sees no sign of blessing, but he is not banned, but here he is placed under the ban.

The Rabbis taught: Some are industrious and profit by it, but others are industrious and incur a loss. One is lowly and profits by it, another is lowly and incurs a loss. One is industrious and profits when he works the whole week but not on Sabbath eve. But another is industrious and incurs a loss, when he works the whole week and on Sabbath eve. A lowly man who profits is he who does not work the whole week and does not work on Sabbath eve. A lowly man who incurs a loss is one who does not work the whole week but works on Sabbath eve.

The Rabbis taught: Whosoever looks for his wife's earning and working at the mill, shall never see a sign of blessing. "The earnings of his wife" means through peddling. "At the mill" Means through hiring her out. But a woman who makes things and sells them is praised in the Scripture, for it was written: (Proverbs xxxi, 24) She maketh fine linen and selleth it.

The Rabbis taught: Street peddlers and breeders of small cattle, and those who cut down good trees, and those who grab the best portion, will never see a sign

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of blessing. Why? For people will always gaze at them.

In four instances there is no sign of blessing to be found: The earnings of scribes, the earnings of interpreters, and the earnings of orphans, and moneys that come from overseas. Why the interpreter? The reason is that it is like earnings for Sabbath work. So are also the wages of orphans, for these cannot be legally renounced. So are the moneys that come from overseas, because a miracle cannot be performed every day. But why of the scribes? Rabbi Joshua ben Levi answered: The sages of the great assembly spent twenty-four days in fasting and prayer, so that the scribes should not grow rich. For if they become rich they will stop writing.

Those who write books, phylacteries and Mezuzoth, their traders, and their traders’ traders, and all who deal in sacred articles, and this includes traders in blue wool for praying shawls, never see a sign of blessing, but if they engage in them for the sake of the Lord, they will see a sign of blessing.



IN A place where the practice was to eat roast meat on Passover night, one should eat roast meat; where the custom is not to eat, one must not eat it.

In a place where the custom is to light the candles on the eve of the Day of Atonement, one may light them; wherever the custom is not to light them, one does not light them. But one lights the candles in the synagogue, in the house of study, in dark alleys and near a sick person.

Where it is the custom to work on the ninth of Ab,

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one may work. In a place where the custom is not to work, one must not work. And in all places scholars must not work. Rabbi Gamaliel says: A man should always make a scholar of himself. The sages said: In Judea, they worked on Passover eve till noon; but in Galilee, they did not work at all. As to work on the night of the fourteenth, the House of Shamai forbid it, but the House of Hillel permit it until dawn.

The men of Jericho inaugurated six things; for three they were not reproved; for three they were reproved; and these are the things for which they were not reproved: They grafted date palms all day long; they pattered the "Hear O Israel," and they reaped and stacked the produce before the Omer Offering. And for the following they were reproved: They were permitted the fruit of sanctified trees, they ate fallen fruit from under the trees on the Sabbath, and they gave tithes from green vegetables. For these the sages reproved them.



KING Hezekiah did six things. With three, the sages agreed; and with three, they disagreed. He dragged the bones of his father on a bier made of ropes, and the sages approved of it. He demolished the copper serpent, and they approved of it. He hid away the book of cures and they approved of it. And of three things they did not approve. He took down the doors of the Temple and sent them to the King of Assyria, and they did not approve of it. He dammed the waters of the Upper Gihon, and they did not approve of it. He lengthened the month of Nisan, and they did not approve of it.


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THE Passover offering is slaughtered in three divisions. For it was said: (Exodus xii, 6) And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it. "Assembly", "Congregation", and "Israel". The first division entered; the Temple court was filled. Whereupon the gates of the court were closed. Then they sounded the horn, first sustained, then stacatto, and then sustained. The priests stood in rows, and in their hands they held silver basins and basins of gold. A row that was of silver was entirely of silver, and a row that was of gold was entirely of gold. They did not mix them. The basins had round bottoms, so that they could not be set down, so that the blood would not congeal. An Israelite slaughtered his offering, the priest took the blood and passed it to the next one, and this one to the next. He received the full one and returned the empty. The priest that was nearest the altar tossed it in one throw at the base of the altar.

When the first division came out, the second division entered, when the second came out, the third entered. As the procedure was with the first group, so it was with the second, and so with the third. They recited "Hallelujah". If they finished it they repeated it and if they finished it a second time, they recited it a third time, although they never completed it a third time. The third division never reached as far as: (Psalms cxvi, 1) I love the Lord because he hath heard. For the people were not many. As the procedure took place on week days, so it was also on the Sabbath. Except that the priest swilled the Temple court; this against the wishes of the Sages. Rabbi Yehuda said: They would fill a cup of the

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mixed blood and make one toss at the altar. But the Sages did not approve of it.

When the carcass was opened, the Israelite removed the portion to be sacrificed. He put it on a tray and handed it to the priest to be burned at the altar. The first division went out and sat on the Temple mount. The second sat on the rampart, and the third remained where they were. When it got dark, they went out and roasted their Paschal Offering.



SAID Rabbi Isaac: The Paschal offering is not slaughtered unless there are three groups of thirty men. What is the reason? "Assembly", "Congregation" and "Israel" are mentioned. We are not sure whether it means all together or one after the other. Therefore, we need three groups of thirty each, so that we will have at the same time three groups, and three following each other. In that case, fifty are also sufficient. First thirty enter and perform the ritual, then ten enter, and ten follow them.

No one was ever crushed in the Temple court on Passover, except once in the time of Hillel. An old man was crushed, and this was known as the Passover of the Crushed.

King Agrippa once wanted to count the host§ of Israel. So he said to the High Priest: Count the Paschal Offerings. Whereupon the priest took a kidney from each lamb. And there were six hundred thousand pairs of kidneys, double the number of those that went out of Egypt. And that excluded those who were away on a journey and those who were unclean. And at least ten

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people were registered for each sacrificed lamb. This was called the Passover of the Throngs.



HOW is the Paschal lamb roasted? One brings a skewer of pomegranate wood, and inserts it through the mouth to the buttocks and puts the knees and the entrails inside of it. These are the words of Rabbi Yosi, the Galilean. Rabbi Akiba said: This is not roasting, it's boiling; the knees and the entrails are hung outside of it.

The Paschal offering must not be roasted on a metal spit, nor on a grill. Rabbi Zadok said: It happened once that Rabbi Gamaliel said to his slave Tabi: Go out and roast the Paschal lamb on a grill, but if it touched the earthen ware of the oven, he had to cut off that part.



THE word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, Kings of Judea. (Hosea i, 1.)

Four prophets prophesied in one period and Hosea was the eldest of all of them. For it was said: (Hosea i, 2) The Lord spake first to Hosea. Indeed, did he speak to Hosea first? Were there not many other prophets from Moses to Hosea? Said Rabbi Yohanan: First of the four prophets that were prophesying in that period. These were: Hosea, Isaiah, Amos and Micah. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to Hosea: Thy children have sinned. He should have replied: These are Thy children, the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Favor them with Thy mercy. Not only did he not say this, but he said to the Lord: Lord of the universe, the

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whole world is Thine. Exchange them for another Nation. The Lord, blessed be He, said to him: What shall I do to this old man? Shall I tell him: Go and take a harlot and she will bear thee children of harlotry, and then I shall tell him: Send them away from thy presence. If he will be able to send them away, then I, too, shall send Israel away; as it was said: (Hosea i, 2) And the Lord said to Hosea, go take unto thee a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom. And it was written (Ibid. 3): So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblain. Gomer explained Rab: All completed their lust with her; Gomer means finished. The daughter of Diblain means the daughter of ill repute from the word diba, (talk). Samuel said: She was sweet to everyone like a fig. (Debelah.) Rabbi Yohanan said: That all pressed upon her like a pressed fig. Another interpretation of Gomer is that of Rabbi Yehuda. He said: In those days they wanted to make a finish (Gomer) of the wealth of Israel. Rabbi Yohanan said: Indeed, they robbed and made a finish. For it was said: (2 Kings xiii, 7) Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.

Conceived and bare him a son, and the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Je-hu, and will cause to cease the Kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, call her name Lo-ruhama (no mercy) for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

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She conceived and bare a son. Then said God, call his name Lo-ami (not my people): for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (Hosea i, 3-9.)

After two sons and a daughter were born to him, the Lord, blessed be He, said to Hosea: Thou shouldst learn from Thy teacher, Moses. For when I spoke to him, he separated from his wife. Thou, too, shouldst separate from thine wife. Said he: Lord of the Universe, I have children by her, and I cannot send her away nor divorce her. Said the Holy One, blessed be He: Now thou, whose wife is a harlot and thy children are children of harlotry, and thou knowest not whether they are thine children or children of other men: thou art so. Now Israel, who are my children whom I have tried, the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one of the three possessions that I treasure in this world—One possession is the Torah. For it is written: (Proverbs viii, 22) The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way. Heaven and earth is one possession, as it was written: (Gen. xiv, 19) Possessor of heaven and earth. Israel is one possession, for it is written: (Exodus xv, 16) People—which thou has purchased—And thou sayest: Exchange them for another nation. When Hosea saw that he had transgressed, he arose and begged for mercy for himself. Said the Lord to him: Instead of begging for mercy for thyself, thou shouldst ask mercy for Israel, against whom I decreed three decrees because of thee. Hosea arose and pleaded for mercy for Israel, and the Lord voided the decrees. Then He blessed them.


RABA said: The world is six thousand parsangs, and the density of the skies is one thousand parsangs. The

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first is a tradition: the second is logic. This is in accord with Rabbi ben Bar Hanah, who said in the name of Rabbi Yohanan: An average man travels ten parsangs in one day; from dawn to the rising of the sun five miles; from sunset to the appearance of stars also five miles. Thus we find that the thickness of the skies is one sixth of a day's journey.

Come and hear: Egypt is four hundred square parsangs. Now Egypt is one sixtieth of Ethiopia, and Ethiopia is one sixtieth of the world, and the world is one sixtieth of the Garden, and the Garden is one sixtieth of Eden, and Eden one sixtieth of Hell. Thus we find that the whole world is like the lid of a pot to Hell. Though this is not so.

Come and heap: Rabbi Nathan said: The whole continent is situated under one star. We know that a man looks at a star while he is walking east. He finds himself opposite the star, and when he walks in the direction of the four corners of the world, it is also opposite him. Therefore, the whole continent must be under one star. This, too, can be disproved.

The Rabbis taught: The circle is fixed, while the constellations revolve. While the Sages of the world maintain that the circle revolves while the constellations are fixed. Rabbi said: Their view is wrong. We never find the Waggon in the south and Scorpio in the north. Rabbi Aha ben Jacob remarked: Perhaps this is like the axis of a millstone, or a socket of a door.

The Sages of Israel say: The sun travels beneath the sky during the day, and above the sky during the night, while the Sages of the world maintain that the sun travels beneath the sky by day, and beneath the earth by

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night. It seems that their opinion is better than ours because during the day the wells are cool, but at night they are warm.

Rabbi Nathan said: During the summer the sun travels at the top of the sky; therefore the whole world is hot, but the wells are cool, but during the rainy season the sun travels at the lower ends of the sky; the whole world is cool, but the wells are warm.

The Rabbis taught: The sun travels over four courses. During Nisan, Eyar and Sivan, it travels over the mountains, so that it can melt the snows. During Tamuz, Ab and Elul it travels over the earth, so that it can ripen the fruits. During Thishri, Marheshvan, and Kislev, it travels over the waters, so that it can dry up the rivers. During Tabath, Shebath and Adar, it travels over the desert, so that it won't dry up the seeds.



ON THE eve of Passover, from close to the afternoon offering, one must not eat a thing until nightfall. Even the poorest in Israel then must not eat without reclining. And he must be allotted not less than four glasses of wine, even if these have to come from the charity kitchens.

The first cup of wine is served and according to the House of Shamai one pronounces first the benediction over the day, and then the benediction over the wine, but the House of Hillel says first one pronounces the benediction over the wine, and then the benediction over the day.

Then lettuce is set before one, and one eats the lettuce

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dipped in vinegar or salt water, until he comes to the breaking of bread. The matzoh, lettuce and haroseth (a mixture of nuts, fruit, and wine) and two dishes are brought before him, though haroseth is not a religious precept. Rabbi Eliezer ben Zadok says: It is a religious precept; and in the days of the Temple they used to set before him the Paschal lamb.

Then the second glass of wine is poured out, and the son asks of his father; if the son has no understanding the father instructs him what to ask: Why is this night different from other nights? Every other night we eat either leavened or unleavened bread; tonight we eat only unleavened bread. Every other night we eat all kinds of green vegetables; tonight, only bitter greens. Every other night we eat meat either cooked, roasted or stewed; tonight, only roasted. Every other night we dip once; tonight we dip twice. And according to the understanding of the son, the father answers him. He begins with the disgrace and ends with the praise. He expounds: (Deuteronomy xxvi, 5) A Syrian ready to perish was my father, till he finishes the whole section.

Rabbi Gamaliel used to say: Whoever does not pronounce three things on Passover, does not discharge his obligations, and these are: Passover, Matzoh, and Bitter herbs. Passover—because the Lord passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt. Matzoh—because our fathers were redeemed from Egypt. Bitter herbs—because the life of our fathers was made bitter in Egypt.

The third cup is poured out and one pronounces the benediction after the meal. Over the fourth cup one recites "Hallelujah", and then the benedictions over song. Between the cups if one wishes to drink, one may drink;

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but one does not drink between the third and the fourth cup.

One must not feast again after partaking of the Paschal lamb.

If some fell asleep and awoke, they may eat, but if all fell asleep they may not eat again. Rabbi Yosi says: If they dozed off they may eat; but if they fell asleep, they must not eat again.



WHY just mention on the eve of Passover? The same applies to the eves of Sabbath and Festivals: We were taught: On the eves of Sabbath and Festivals one must not eat after the Afternoon Offering, so that he may enter the Sabbath with an appetite. These are the words of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Yosi says: He may keep on eating until nightfall. Rab Huna said: This exposition was necessitated because of Rabbi Yosi who taught: He may keep on eating until nightfall. This applies only to the eves of Sabbath and other Festivals, but as to the eve of Passover, it is distinctly understood that one must refrain, because of the obligation of eating unleavened bread. Rab Papa taught according to the view of Rab Yehuda: On the eves of Sabbath and Festivals one may not eat after the Afternoon Offering, while on the eve of Passover one is forbidden to eat close to the Afternoon Offering. Now, may one eat on the eves of Sabbath and Festivals close to the Afternoon Offering? Indeed we learned A man must not eat on the eves of Sabbath and Festivals from the ninth hour on, so that he may enter the Sabbath with an appetite.

The Rabbis taught: Everyone is obligated to drink the four cups of wine—men, women, and children. What

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satisfaction do children get from wine, asked Rabbi Yehuda? They are given the roasted ears of corn and nuts so that they won't fall asleep, and will ask the questions. Rabbi Akiba used to give children roasted ears of corn and nuts on the eve of Passover, so that they would not fall asleep and would ask the questions.

Rabbi Eliezer said: One eats the Matzoh hurriedly on the night of Passover so that the children will not fall asleep. It was told of Rabbi Akiba, that he never said in the house of study: It is time to stop, except on the eves of Passover and the Day of Atonement. On the eve of Passover because of the children, so they would not fall asleep; and on the eve of the Day of Atonement so that the children may be fed.

The Rabbis taught: It is a man's duty to make his children and his household happy on the Festival, for it was said: (Deuteronomy xvi, 14) And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow that are within thy gates.

With what does he make them happy? With wine. Rabbi Yehuda said: Men with what is right for men and women with what is proper for women. Men with what is proper for them—wine. And women with what? Rabbi Joseph said: In Babylonia they used to give brightly colored garments. In Palestine—linen garments beautifully starched and ironed.

Rabbi Yehuda ben Bathyra said: When the Temple was in existence, there was no rejoicing, but with meat, for it was said: (Deuteronomy xxvii, 7) And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shall eat there, and rejoice 

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before the Lord thy God. But now that the Temple is no more, there is no rejoicing except with wine. For it was said: (Psalms civ, 15) And wine that maketh glad the heart of man.


HE WHO suspends his bread basket in his house, brings about poverty. For people say: He who suspends his bread basket, brings his food in suspense. However, this refers only to bread. Meat and fish are not harmed. For that is the way to keep them. Bran in the house leads to poverty. Crumbs in the house cause poverty. On Sabbath nights and on Wednesdays the demons rest upon them.

The genius of plenty is called "Cleanliness". The genius of poverty is "Filth". Dirt in the spout of the pitcher causes poverty. If one drinks from a saucer, he is liable to a sty. If one eats cress without washing his hands, he will experience fear for thirty days. If one lets blood without washing his hands, he will experience fear for seven days. If one cuts his hair without washing his hands, he will experience fear for three days. If he cuts his nails without washing his hands he will be afraid one day, without knowing why he is afraid.

Evil spirits rest on food and drink that is put under the bed, even if it be covered with iron lids.

A man must not drink water from rivers and cisterns at night. If he drinks, his blood is upon his own head, because of the danger. What kind of danger? The danger of the Shabriri, the demons of blindness. What shall he do if he is thirsty? If there is someone with him he says: So-and-so, the son of the So-and-so, I am thirsty. But if there is no one, he says to himself: So-and-so,

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my mother told me "Beware of the Shabriri". Shabriri Briri, riri, yiri, ri. I want water in the white cup.


"EVEN from the charity kitchen." Obviously. This is necessary because of Rabbi Akiba who said: Make your Sabbath like a weekday, but depend not on another man. But in this instance he agrees because of the publicity of the miracle.

Rabbi Akiba bequeaths seven things to his son Rabbi Yehoshua. Do not dwell at the highest point of the town, because of your studies. Do not dwell in a town whose heads are scholars. Do not enter thine house suddenly, and surely not the house of thy neighbor. Do not leave shoes off thy feet. Arise early and eat; in the summer before it gets hot, and in the winter before it gets chilly. And make thy Sabbath like a weekday, but do not ask aid of other people. And be on good terms with a man on whom fortune smiles. Rabbi Papa said: This does not mean that one buys from him or sells to him, but that he enters into partnership with him.


SAID Rab to Rabbi Assi: Dwell not in a town where no horses neigh, and no dogs bark. And dwell not in a town whose head is a physician. And marry not two women; but if you have married two, marry a third.

Said Rab to Rabbi Kahana: Turn an ass around in the market place but turn not your words around. Skin an ass in the market place, and earn your living; do not say: I am a priest, I am a distinguished personage, and this is beneath my dignity. If you ascend to the roof, take provisions with you.

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Melons may be a hundred for a Zuz in the town, but have them under your cloak.

Said Rab to his son, Hiya: Drink not medicines. Leap not over streams. Do not have teeth extracted, and provoke not a serpent nor a Syrian woman.

The Rabbis said: These three must not be provoked: A little heathen, a little snake, and a little pupil. Because they have their kingdom behind their ear.

Three things, said Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi in the name of the men from Jerusalem: Frequent not the roofs, because of immoral scenes. If your daughter has attained puberty; free your slave and give her to him. And take heed of your wife and her first son-in-law. What is the reason? Rabbi Hisdu said: because of incest. Rabbi Kahana said: because of money. They are both right.

Of three, the Lord, blessed be He, proclaims every day: Of a bachelor who lives in a large city and does not sin; of a poor man who returns lost property to its owner; of a rich man who pays his tax without grumbling.

There are three who are beloved by the Holy One, blessed be He. He who never gets angry; he who never gets drunk, and he who does not insist on all his rights.

Three are hated by the Holy One, blessed be He: He who says one thing with his mouth, and another thing in his heart; he who possesses evidence in favor of his neighbor and does not testify for him; and he who saw an indecent act of his neighbor and is the only one to testify against him.

The Rabbis taught: The life of these three is no life: the compassionate, the hot-tempered and the fastidious.

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[paragraph continues] Said Rabbi Joseph: all these qualities are to be found in me.

Three hate one another: Dogs, chickens and partners. Some say: also prostitutes, and some say: The Babylonian scholars, too, hate one another.

Three love each other: The proselytes, the slaves, and the ravens. Four are impossible to put up with: A proud beggar, a rich man who lies, an old man who whores, and an Elder who lords it over the community. Some say: also one who divorces his wife and then remarries her.



"ONE does not feast again after partaking of the Paschal Offering" (Apikoman).



WHAT is meant by Apikoman? Rab says: One must not go from one Passover feast to another. Samuel says: It means, for example, eating mushrooms for me and young pigeons for Abba. Rabbi Hanina ben Shila and Rabbi Yohanan say: For example: Eating dates, roasted ears of corn, and nuts. It was taught according to Rabbi Yohanan: After the Paschal meal, one must not partake of dates, roasted ears of corn, or nuts.


Next: The Day of Atonement (Tractate Yoma)