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Talmud - Mas. Sabbath 73a

Surely then the first clause [dealing with the greater severity of the Sabbath] refers to idolatry, whilst the second treats of other precepts; and how is unwitting and unintentional transgression possible? When one thought that it [heleb] was permitted fat, and ate it.1 [While] ‘this is not so with respect to the Sabbath,’ viz., that he is not culpable, for if [by analogy] one intended cutting something detached but cut something attached [instead], he is not culpable.2 But Abaye [maintains:] how is an unwitting and unintentional offence meant? When one thinks that it [heleb] is spittle and swallows it.3 [While] ‘which is not so in the case of the Sabbath,’ where he is exempt, for if [by analogy] one intends lifting something detached but cuts something attached [to the soil], he is not culpable. But if he intends to cut something detached and cuts something attached, he is liable.

It was stated: If one intends to throw [an object] two [cubits], but throws it four,4 Raba said: He is not culpable; Abaye ruled: He is culpable.5 Raba said: He is not culpable, since he had no intention of a four [cubits’] throw. Abaye ruled, He is culpable, since he intended throwing in general. If he thinks it private ground but it is learnt to be public ground, Raba ruled: He is not culpable; Abaye said: He is culpable. Raba ruled, He is not culpable, since he had no intention of a forbidden throw. While Abaye ruled that he is culpable, since he intended throwing in general.

Now, it is necessary.6 For if we were informed of the first, [it might be argued] there [only] does Raba rule thus, since he did not intend [to perform] a forbidden eating, but if he intended throwing [an object] two [cubits] but throws it four, since four cannot be thrown without two,7 I would say that he agrees with Abaye. And if we were informed of this, [it might be argued] here [only] does Raba rule thus, since he did not intend a four [cubits’] throw; but if he thought it private ground but it was discovered to be public ground, seeing that he intended a four [cubits’] throw, I would say that he agrees with Abaye. Thus they are [all] necessary.

We learnt: The primary labours are forty less one. Now we questioned this, Why state the number? And R. Johanan answered: [To teach] that if one performs all of them in one state of unawareness, he is liable [to a sacrifice] on account of each separately. Now, as for Abaye who ruled that in such a case one is liable, this is well: for this is conceivable where one knows the interdict of the Sabbath and the interdicts of labours, but errs in respect of the standards.8 But according to Raba who maintained that one is not culpable [for this], how is this conceivable? [Presumably] [only] where he was conscious of the Sabbath but unaware of [the forbidden character of his] labors. Now that is well if he agrees with R. Johanan who ruled, Since he was ignorant of kareth, even if he was conscious of the negative injunction, [he is liable]:9 then it is possible where he knew [that his labors are prohibited on] Sabbath by a negative injunction. But if he holds with R. Simeon b. Lakish, who maintained, He must offend unwittingly in respect of both the negative injunction and kareth, then wherein did he know of the Sabbath?10 — He knew it by the law of boundaries, this being in accordance with R. Akiba.11

MISHNAH. The primary labors are forty less one, [viz.:] sowing,12 plowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, selecting,13 grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing wool, bleaching, hackling, dyeing, spinning, stretching the threads,14 the making of two meshes, weaving two threads, dividing two threads,15 tying [knotting] and untying, sewing two stitches, tearing in order to sew two stitches,16 capturing a deer, slaughtering, or flaying, or salting it,17 curing its hide, scraping it [of its hair], cutting it up, writing two letters, erasing in order to write two letters [over the erasure], building, pulling down, extinguishing, kindling, striking with a hammer,18 [and] carrying out from one domain to another: these are the forty primary labors less one.

  1. Thus it was unwitting, because he thought it permitted fat, and unintentional, since he had no intention of eating heleb. On the present hypothesis it is regarded as unwitting but intentional only when he knows that it is heleb and eats it as such, thinking, however, that heleb is permitted.

  2. Thus on this interpretation the Baraitha supports Raba.

  3. It is unwitting, because he thinks it spittle, and unintentional, because he has no intention of eating at all, swallowing not being eating. But the case posited by Raba is not unintentional in Abaye’s view, since he did intend to eat.

  4. Four cubits in the street is the minimum distance for culpability.

  5. On Raba and Abaye v. supra 72b, p. 345. n. 3.

  6. For the three controversies — i.e., these two and that on 72b top — to be stated, though apparently two are superfluous, since the same principle underlies all.

  7. I.e. , in throwing it four cubits he did fulfill his intention.

  8. In each case he intended performing less than the standard for which liability is incurred, but actually performed the full standard.

  9. V. p. 329, n. 2.

  10. V. p. 330, n. 3.

  11. V. p. 330, nn. 5-6.

  12. Lit., ‘he who sows’, and similarly with the others that follow.

  13. By hand, the unfit food from the fit.

  14. On the loom.

  15. I.e., dividing the ends of the web.

  16. Where it is inconvenient to sew unless one tears the cloth first, that tearing is a primary labor.

  17. Sc. its skin.

  18. I.e., giving the finishing blow with the hammer.

Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 73b

GEMARA. Why state the number? — Said R. Johanan: [To teach] that if one performs them all in one state of unawareness, he is liable on account of each separately.

SOWING AND PLOUGHING. Let us see: plowing is done first, then let him [the Tanna] state PLOUGHING first and then SOWING? — The Tanna treats of1 Palestine, where they first sow and then plough.2

A Tanna taught: Sowing, pruning, planting, bending,3 and grafting are all one labor. What does this inform us? — This: that if one performs many labors of the same nature, he is liable only to one [sacrifice]. R. Abba4 said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Ashi in R. Ammi’s name: He who prunes is culpable on account of planting, while he who plants, bends [the vine], or grafts is culpable on account of sowing. On account of sowing only but not on account of planting?5 — Say: on account of planting too.6

R. Kahana said: If one prunes and needs the wood [too], he is liable to two [penalties],7 one on account of reaping8 and one on account of planting.9 R. Joseph said: He who cuts hay is liable to two [penalties], one on account of reaping and the other on account of planting.10 Abaye said: He who trims beets [in the ground] is liable to two [penalties], one on account of reaping11 and one on account of planting.12

PLOUGHING. A Tanna taught: Plowing, digging, and trenching are a]l one [form of] work.13 R. Shesheth said: If one has a mound [of earth] and removes it, in the house, he is liable on the score of building;14 if in the field, he is liable on the score of plowing. Raba said: If one has a depression and fills it up: if in the house, he is liable on account of building; if in the field, he is liable on account of ploughing.15

R. Abba said: If one digs a pit on the Sabbath, needing only the earth thereof,16 he is not culpable on its account. And even according to R. Judah, who ruled: One is liable on account of a labor which is not required on its own account:17 that is only when he effects an improvement, but this man causes damage.18

REAPING: A Tanna taught: Reaping, vintaging, gathering [dates], collecting [olives], and gathering [figs] are all one [form of] labor. R. Papa said: He who throws a clod of earth at a palm tree and dislodges dates is liable to two [penalties], one on account of detaching19 and one on account of stripping.20 R. Ashi said: This is not the mode of detaching, nor is it the mode of stripping.21

BINDING SHEAVES. Raba22 said: He who collects salt out of a salina23 is liable on the score of binding sheaves.24 Abaye said: Binding sheaves applies only to products of the soil.

THRESHING. It was taught: Threshing, beating [flax in their stalks], and beating [cotton] are all the same form of work.

WINNOWING, SELECTING, GRINDING AND SIFTING. But winnowing, selecting, and sifting are identical?25 — Abaye and Raba both said: Whatever was performed in [connection with the erection of] the Tabernacle,

  1. Lit., ‘stands in’ — all the Tannaim, of course, were Palestinians.

  2. Involving only one liability if performed at the same time.

  3. Bending a vine for drawing it into the ground and making it grow as an independent plant (Jast.).

  4. So text as amended.

  5. Surely bending and grafting are forms of planting? — Planting and sowing are identical, the former applying to trees and the latter to cereals.

  6. Hence if he grafts and sows, he is only liable to one penalty.

  7. I.e., sin-offering, if done unwittingly.

  8. Cutting wood from a tree for its use is a derivative of reaping.

  9. Pruning is done to enable what is left to grow more freely, and thus it is a derivative of planting.

  10. The hay is cut so that new grass can grow, and thus it is a derivative of planting (i.e., sowing) too.

  11. Because the beets he cuts constitute a harvest.

  12. As in n. 5.

  13. Involving only one liability if performed at the same time.

  14. For he thereby levels the floor, which is part of building.

  15. For he thereby prepares the ground for sowing.

  16. But not the pit itself.

  17. V. supra 12a, 31b.

  18. He spoils the ground by the pit.

  19. That which is attached to the soil, the clod being taken up from the soil.

  20. Rashi: the tree of a burden, sc. the dates. Ri: the dates of their outer skin. In both cases this is a derivative of threshing, which separates the grain from the chaff.

  21. Hence he is not liable on either score.

  22. Maim. and Asheri read: Rabbah.

  23. A salt deposit, formed by causing sea water to flow into a trench; the water evaporates through the heat of the sun, leaving the salt. Raba refers to this action of directing the water into the trench.

  24. It partakes of the same nature, and ranks as a derivative thereof.

  25. All consist of separating fit from unfit food.

Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 74a

even if there are [labors] similar thereto, is counted [separately].1 Then let him also enumerate pounding [wheat]?2 — Said Abaye: Because a poor man eats his bread without pounding.3 Raba said: This agrees with Rabbi, who said: The primary labors are forty less one; but if pounding were enumerated, there would be forty.4 Then let one of these be omitted and pounding be inserted? Hence it is clear [that it must be explained] as Abaye [does].

Our Rabbis taught: If various kinds of food lie before one, he may select and eat, select and put aside; but he must not select, and if he does, he incurs a sin-offering. What does this mean? — Said ‘Ulla, This is its meaning: He may select to eat on the same day, and he may select and put aside for the same day; but he must not select for [use on] the morrow, and if he does, he incurs a sin-offering. R. Hisda demurred: Is it then permitted to bake for [use on] the same day, or is it permitted to cook for the same day?5 Rather said R. Hisda: He may select and eat less than the standard quantity, and he may select and put aside less than the standard quantity;6 but he must not select as much as the standard quantity, and if he does, he incurs a sin-offering. R. Joseph demurred : Is it then permitted to bake less than the standard quantity?7 Rather said R. Joseph: He may select by hand and eat, or select by hand and put aside; but he may not select with a reed-basket or a dish; and if he does, he is not culpable, nevertheless it is forbidden.8 He may not select with a sieve or a basket-sieve, and if he does he incurs a sin-offering.9 R. Hamnuna demurred: Are then a reed-basket and a dish mentioned? — Rather said R. Hamnuna: He may select and eat, [taking the] eatable from the non-eatable, and he may select and put aside, [taking] the eatable from the non-eatable. But he must not select the non-eatable out of the eatable, and if he does, he incurs a sin-offering.10 Abaye demurred : Is it then taught, ‘the eatable from the non-eatable’? Rather said Abaye: He may select and eat immediately, and he may select and put aside for immediate use;11 but he may not select for [later consumption on] the same day, and if he does, it is regarded as though he were selecting for [making] a store, and he incurs a sin-offering.12 The Rabbis reported this to Raba. Said he to them, Nahmani13 has said well.

If two kinds of food lie before a person, and he selects and eats or selects and puts aside,14 — R. Ashi learnt: He is not culpable: R. Jeremiah of Difti15 learnt: He is culpable, ‘R. Ashi learnt: He is not culpable’! but it was taught:16 ‘He is culpable’? — There is no difficulty: the one treats of a reed-basket and a plate;17 the other refers to a sieve and a basket-sieve.

When R. Dimi came,18 he related: It was R. Bibi’s Sabbath,19 and R. Ammi and R. Assi chanced to be there. He cast a basket of fruit before them,20 and I do not know whether it was because he held that it is forbidden to pick out the eatable from the noneatable, or whether he wished to be generous.21

Hezekiah said: One who picks lupines [after boiling] out of their husks22 is culpable. Shall we say that Hezekiah holds that it is forbidden to select the eatable from the non-eatable? [No.] Lupines are different,

  1. What constitutes primary labors is learnt from the Tabernacle (v. 49b). All these labors were needed for the Tabernacle in the wilderness; hence they are counted separately.

  2. In a mortar, to remove the husk. Drugs were pounded in connection with the Tabernacle for dyes.

  3. Hence it is omitted, for the Tanna evidently follows the general order of making bread, and bread for the poor is prepared with the husk of the wheat. But it is certainly a primary labor forbidden on the Sabbath.

  4. Rabbi deduces even the number of labors from Scripture (v. infra 97b).

  5. Surely not! And since you say that selecting for use on the next day entails a sin-offering, it is a forbidden labor in the full sense of the term, and hence prohibited even if required for the same day.

  6. For which a penalty is incurred, viz., as much as a dried fig.

  7. Granted that there is no penalty, it is nevertheless forbidden, and the same applies here.

  8. There is no liability, because this is not the proper mode of selecting; nevertheless it is forbidden, because it is somewhat similar to selecting by means of a sieve.

  9. Because this is the usual mode of sifting, and it is therefore a primary labor, as stated in the Mishnah. For a description of the nafah
  1. Aboth, Sonc. ed., p. 69, n. 10.
  1. The former is not the ordinary mode of sifting, while the latter is.

  2. I.e., immediately he finishes putting aside he will consume what is eatable.

  3. But the former does not constitute sifting and is entirely permissible.

  4. A familiar name of Abaye, because he was brought up in the house of Rabbah b. Nahmani. V. however, Git., Sonc. ed., p. 140, n. 6.

  5. For another to eat. The two kinds were mixed up, and he selected the kind he desired.

    1. p. 35, n. 5.
  6. Supra.

  7. When the selecting is done by these, he is not culpable.

  8. V. p. 12, n. 9.

  9. It was his turn that Sabbath to wait on the scholars.

  10. tsa denotes to put down with some violence. He did this instead of first separating the leaves from the fruit, as they would fall away automatically through the force of his setting it down.

  11. Hence placed a large quantity before them.

  12. Lit., ‘refuse’.

Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 74b

because they are boiled seven times, and if one does not remove it [the edible portion], it goes rancid, hence it is like [picking] the non-edible out of the edible.1

GRINDING. R. Papa said: He who cuts up beets very fine is liable on account of grinding. R. Manasseh said: He who cuts chips [for fuel] is liable on account of grinding. Said R. Ashi: If he is particular about their size, he is liable on account of cutting.2

KNEADING AND BAKING. R. Papa said: Our Tanna omits the boiling of ingredients [for dyes],3 which took place in [connection with] the Tabernacle, and treats of baking!4 — Our Tanna takes the order of [making] bread.5

R. Aha son of R. Awira said: He who throws a tent peg into a stove6 is liable on account of cooking. But that is obvious? — You might say, His intention is to strengthen [harden] the article,7 therefore we are informed that it [first] softens and then hardens.8

Rabbah son of R. Huna said: He who boils pitch is liable on account of cooking. But that is obvious? — You might argue, Since it hardens again, I might say [that he is] not [liable]. Hence he informs us [otherwise].

Raba said: He who makes an [earthenware] barrel is culpable on account of seven sin-offerings.9 [He who makes] an oven is liable on account of eight sin-offerings.10 Abaye said: He who makes a wicker work is liable to eleven sin-offerings,11 and if he sews round the mouth thereof, he is liable to thirteen sin-offerings.12

SHEARING WOOL AND BLEACHING. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Johanan’s name: He who spins wool from off the animal’s back on the Sabbath incurs three sin-offerings, one on account of shearing, another on account of hackling, and the third on account of spinning.13 R. Kahana said: Neither shearing, hackling, nor spinning is [done] in this manner.14 But is it not so? Surely it was taught in the name of R. Nehemiah: It was washed [direct] on the goats and spun on the goats:15 which proves that spinning direct from the animal is designated spinning? — Superior skill is different.16

Our Rabbis taught: He who plucks the wing [of a bird], trims it [the feather], and plucks it [the down], is liable to three sin offerings. Said R. Simeon b. Lakish: For plucking [the wing] one is liable on account of shearing; for trimming [the feather] he is liable on the score of cutting; and for plucking [the down] he is liable under the head of smoothing.

TYING AND UNTYING. Where was there tying in the Tabernacle?17 — Said Raba: The tent-pegs were tied. But that was tying with the intention of [subsequent] untying?18 But said Abaye: The weavers of the curtains, when a thread broke, tied it up. Said Raba to him: You have explained tying; but what can be said about untying? And should you answer that when two knots [in the material] chanced to come together, one untied one and left the other knotted:19 [it may be asked], seeing that one would not do thus before a king of flesh and blood, how much more so before the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He?20 Rather said Raba — others state, R. Elai: Those who caught the hillazon21 tied and untied.22

SEWING TWO STITCHES. But it cannot endure?23 — Said Rabbah b. Bar Hanah in R. Johanan’s name: Providing that he knots them.24

TEARING IN ORDER TO SEW TWO STITCHES. Was there any tearing in the Tabernacle? — Rabbah and R. Zera both say:

  1. Which is forbidden.

  2. Sc. Hides to measure; v. Mishnah on erection.

  3. E.g., for the hangings and curtains, v. Rashi 73a, s.v. vputv.

  4. Which has nothing to do with the Tabernacle (Rashi).

  5. I.e., he takes bread as an example and enumerates the various principal labors connected with it.

  6. To dry it.

  7. Whereas cooking softens.

  8. The fire heats the moisture in the wood, which softens it, and it is only after it evaporates that the wood hardens. This prior softening partakes of the nature of cooking.

  9. So MS.M., deleting ‘on account of’ in cur. edd. (i) The clods of earth are first crushed and powdered — this constitutes grinding; (ii) the thicker balls which do not powder well are removed — selecting (iii) it is then sifted; (iv) the powder is mixed with water — kneading; (v) the resultant clay is smoothed when the cast of the vessel is made — smoothing; (vi) the fire is lit in the kiln; and (vii) the vessel is hardened in the kiln — boiling.

  10. The seven foregoing, which are also needed here, and an additional one. For after it is hardened in the kiln, a layer of loam or plaster is daubed on the inside, to enable it to preserve heat. This completes it, and it is stated infra 75b that every special act needed to complete an article falls within the term ‘striking with the hammer’ (v. Mishnah, 73a). But a barrel needs no special labor to complete it.

  11. It entails this number of labors: (i and ii) cutting the reeds is a two-fold labor: (a) reaping, (b) planting, since it leaves more room for the others to grow (v. supra 73b); (iii) collecting them — binding sheaves, (iv) selecting the best; (v) smoothing them; (vi) splitting them lengthwise into thinner rods — grinding; (vii) cutting them — to measure; (viii) stretching the lengthwise rods; (ix) drawing one cane through these, threading it above and below the lengthwise rods — this is the equivalent of ‘the making of two meshes’; (x) plaiting the canes — weaving; and finally (xi) cutting it round after plaiting in order to finish it off, — ‘striking with a hammer’ (v. n. 7).

  12. The additional two are sewing and then tying up (presumably the unattached lengths of the thread or twine used for same).

  13. Spinning direct from the animal embraces these three labors.

  14. Hence he is not liable at all, for one is liable only when he performs a labor in the usual manner.

  15. The reference is to Ex. XXXV, 26, q.v., which R. Nehemiah translates literally, without adding ‘hair’ as in E.V., and so he deduces that it was spun directly from the animal.

  16. Scripture emphasizes there the skill that this demanded (v. 25), which shows that normal spinning is different.

  17. V. p. 224, n. 4.

  18. When they struck camp. Such is not Biblically forbidden and is not the tying referred to in the Mishnah.

  19. The two knots together would spoil the evenness of the fabric.

  20. The untying of a knot in the fabric would leave an ugly gap, particularly as the threads were six-stranded. Hence the utmost care would be taken to prevent the thread from knotting in the first place.

  21. A kind of snail or purple-fish whose blood was used for dyeing the tents of the Tabernacle.

  22. The nets.

  23. Two stitches alone will slip out of the cloth. Thus the work is not permanent and entails no punishment.

  24. After sewing, so that they will remain.

Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 75a

A curtain which was attacked by a moth was torn [round the moth hole] and resewn.

R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab’s name: He who pulls the thread of a seam1 on the Sabbath is liable to a sin-offering; and he who learns a single thing from a Magian2 is worthy of death;3 and he who is able to calculate the cycles4 and planetary courses but does not, one may hold no conversation with him.5

As to magianism, Rab and Samuel [differ thereon]: one maintains that it is sorcery; the other, blasphemy. It may be proved that it is Rab who maintains that it is blasphemy. For R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab’s name: He who learns a single thing from a magian is worthy of death. Now should you think that it is a sorcerer, surely it is written, thou shalt not learn to do [after the abomination of those nations],6 [implying], but you may learn in order to understand and instruct! This proves it. R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi on the authority of Bar Kappara: He who knows how to calculate the cycles and planetary courses, but does not, of him Scripture saith, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered the operation of his hands.7 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan’s name: How do we know that it is one’s duty to calculate the cycles and planetary courses? Because it is written, for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples:8 what wisdom and understanding is in the sight of the peoples?9 Say, that it is the science of cycles and planets.

CAPTURING A DEER, etc. Our Rabbis taught: He who captures a purple-fish10 and crushes it is liable to one [sin-offering];11 R. Judah said: He is liable to two, for R. Judah maintained: Crushing comes under the head of threshing. Said they to him: Crushing does not come under the head of threshing. Raba observed: What is the Rabbis’ reason? They hold that threshing is applicable only to produce from the soil. But let him be culpable too on the score of taking life? — Said R. Johanan: This means that he crushed it when [already] dead.12 Raba said: You may even explain that he crushed it whilst alive: in respect to the taking of life he is but incidentally occupied.13 But Abaye and Raba both maintain: R. Simeon admits in a case of ‘cut off his head but let him not die!’14 Here it is different, because he is more pleased that it should be alive, so that the dye should be clearer.15

AND SLAUGHTERING IT. As for him who slaughters, on what score is he culpable? — Rab said: On the score of dyeing;16 while Samuel said: On the score of taking life.

  1. If the seam gapes, and he pulls the thread to draw the pieces together. This constitutes sewing.

  2. One of the priestcraft of Ancient Persia.

  3. This is an idiom expressing strong abhorrence, cf. similar expressions in Sanh. 58b and 59a. The Magi were hostile to Jews, and caused them much suffering in various ways; cf. Sanh., Sonc. ed., p. 504, n. 6 and 98a: Yeb. 63b; Git. 17a. This evoked the present remark.

  4. Sc. of the seasons.

  5. The science of astronomy was necessary for the fixing of the calendar, upon which Jewish Festivals depended. In early times this was done by observation, but gradually calculation took its place. Hence Rab’s indignation at one who fails to employ such knowledge.

  6. Deut. XVIII,9.

  7. Isa. V, 12.

  8. Deut. IV, 6.

  9. I.e., which testifies to itself.

  10. Hillazon, v. p. 356, n. 2

  11. Crushing not being a culpable offence.

  12. In order to make the blood exude.

  13. I.e., the taking of life is not his main purpose, but merely follows incidentally; such does not entail culpability.

  14. R. Simeon holds that a labor performed unintentionally in the course of doing something that is permitted is itself permitted, unless it follows inevitably from the latter, when it is the same as any other forbidden labor. Here too it must inevitably die when crushed.

  15. Hence its death is more than unintentional, but actually contrary to his desire.

  16. The blood that gushes forth from its cut throat stains and dyes the flesh.

Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 75b

On the score of dyeing but not on the score of taking life!1 Say, on the score of dyeing too. Rab said: As to this dictum of mine, I will make an observation thereon so that later generations should not come and deride me. Wherein is one pleased with the dyeing? One is pleased that the throat should be stained with blood, so that people may see it2 and come and buy from him.

SALTING AND CURING IT. But salting and tanning are identical?3 — R. Johanan and Resh Lakish both said: Omit one of these and insert the tracing of lines.4 Rabbah son of R. Huna said: He who salts meat is liable on account of tanning [dressing]. Raba said: Curing does not apply to foodstuffs. R. Ashi observed: And even Rabbah son of R. Huna ruled thus only when he requires it for a journey;5 but [when he needs it] for his house, one does not turn his food into wood.

SCRAPING AND CUTTING IT UP. R. Aha b. Hanina said: He who rubs [smoothes skins] between columns6 on the Sabbath is liable on the score of scraping. R. Hiyya b. Abba said, R. Ammi told me three things in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: He who planes the tops of beams7 on the Sabbath is culpable on account of cutting.8 He who spreads a poultice [evenly over a sore] on the Sabbath is culpable on the grounds of scraping. And he who chisels round a stone on the Sabbath9 is liable on the score of striking with the hammer.10 R. Simeon b. Bisna said in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish: He who describes a figure on a utensil, and he who blows in glassware,11 is liable on the score of striking with a hammer. Rab Judah said: He who removes threads12 from garments on the Sabbath is liable on the score of striking with the hammer;13 but that is only when he objects to them.14 WRITING TWO LETTERS. Our Rabbis taught: If one writes one large letter in the place of which there is room for writing two, he is not culpable. If he erases one large letter and there is room in its place for writing two, he is culpable. Said R. Menahem son of R. Jose: And this is the greater stringency of erasing over writing.

BUILDING, PULLING DOWN, EXTINGUISHING, KINDLING, AND STRIKING WITH A HAMMER. Rabbah and R. Zera both say: Whatever comprises the finishing of the work imposes liability on the score of striking with a hammer.15

THESE ARE THE PRIMARY LABOURS. THESE is to reject R. Eleazar’s view, who imposes liability on account of a derivative labor [when performed concurrently] with a primary labour.16

LESS ONE. This is to reject R. Judah’s view. For it was taught: R. Judah adds the closing up of the web and the beating of the woof.17 Said they to him: Closing up of the web is included in stretching the threads, and beating [the woof] is included in weaving.


GEMARA. ‘WHATEVER IS FIT TO PUT AWAY’: What does this exclude? — R. Papa said: It excludes the blood of menstruation. Mar ‘Ukba said: It excludes the wood of an Asherah.21 He who says the blood of menstruation, certainly [excludes] the wood of an Asherah. But he who says the wood of an Asherah; the blood of menstruation, however, is put away for a cat. But the other [argues]: since she would sicken,22 one would not put it away [for that purpose].

R. Jose b. Hanina said: This does not agree with R. Simeon. For if it were as R. Simeon, surely he maintained: All these standards were stated only in respect of those who put away.23


  1. Surely not!

  2. That it is freshly killed.

  3. Salting the hide being the first step in the tanning process.

  4. Before cutting.

  5. It is then salted very much and is thus akin to tanning.

  6. Tosaf. and Jast. Rashi: he who smoothes the ground between the columns.

  7. To make them all of the same level.

  8. To measure.

  9. Giving it its final touches.

  10. V. infra.

  11. Where the blowing shapes it.

  12. I.e., anything sticking out of the web, as thread, knots, splinters, etc., which was accidentally woven into the material.

  13. As this completes their labor.

  14. And would not wear the garments otherwise.

  15. Cf. p. 354 n. 7.

  16. Hence it is possible to incur more than thirty-nine sin-offerings, whereas the number stated is to exclude this possibility.

  17. In order to even it.

  18. For later use.

  19. It is large enough to be put away for later use.

  20. If he carries it out, since by putting it away he showed that he attaches a value to it. But for others it is of no account; hence if they carry it out there is no liability.

  21. A tree, or perhaps a post, devoted to idolatry; V. Deut. XVI, 21. It is forbidden to benefit thereof.

  22. It was thought that if an animal consumed blood drawn from any person, that person would lose strength.

    1. infra Mishnah VIII, 1. Thus a wealthy man is not liable for carrying out something which he personally would not put away, though most people would. But according to our Mishnah general practice is the decisive factor for all, and the exceptions are ignored.