Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. Ten kinds of families went up from Babylon [to Palestine, with Ezra, at the building of the second temple], viz. 1, priests; 2, Levites; 3, Israelites; 4, profaned; 5, proselytes; 6, freedmen; 7, bastards; 8, Netinim; 9, of unknown lineage; and 10, foundlings.
[paragraph continues] The three first mentioned may intermarry. Levites, Israelites, profaned proselytes, and manumitted slaves may intermarry among themselves; and the last mentioned six may also intermarry among themselves.
§ 2. Of unknown lineage are all those whose mother is known, but not their father. A foundling [אסופי] is one who was picked up in the streets, and knows neither father nor mother. Abba Saul used to call one of unknown lineage [שתוקי] "a בדוקי," i.e. one subject to examination. 1
§ 3. All that are prohibited to enter the congregation [of the Lord] may intermarry; but R. Jehudah prohibits it. R. Jehudah says, "Those whose prohibition is certain, may intermarry; but not those whose prohibition is certain, with those whose prohibition is doubtful, or the doubtful with the certainly prohibited, or the doubtfully prohibited, among each other. Doubtfully prohibited are those of uncertain lineage, foundlings, and Samaritans." 2
§ 4. A priest, who intends to marry a priest's daughter, must previously make inquiry 3 in respect to four mothers [i.e. the mother and grandmothers of his intended wife], which four [are in fact] eight, 4 viz. 1, the bride's mother; 2, her maternal grandmother; 3, the mother of her mother's father; 4, the mother of the last mentioned; 5, her father's mother; 6, the mother of the latter; 7, the mother of the paternal grandfather; and 8, the mother of the last mentioned. And when he intends marrying a Levite's or an Israelite's daughter, he must make inquiries for yet another degree.
§ 5. These inquiries are not necessary in respect to a priest who had ministered at the altar, or to a Levite who had officiated at the דוכן, or choir in the temple, or of an Israelite who had been a member of the Sanhedrin, and of all those whose ancestors were known to have held high public offices, or had been appointed wardens or overseers of the poor; all these are qualified to marry in priest's families without any previous examination. R. José says, "Also
those whose name is to be found signed as a witness in the ancient archives of the tribunal of Zepporis." 5 R. Hanina ben Antigonus saith, "Also he whose name is inscribed among the royal army." 6
§ 6. The female descendants of a desecrated priest are for ever disqualified to be married to the priesthood. An Israelite married to a profaned woman, their daughter is qualified to marry a priest; but the daughter of a desecrated priest married to an Israelitess, is disqualified to marry a priest. R. Jehudah saith, "The daughter of a male proselyte is even as the daughter of a desecrated priest [disqualified to be married to a priest]."
§ 7. R. Eleazar ben Jacob saith, "The daughter of an Israelite who had married a female proselyte, is qualified to be married to the priesthood; and the daughter of a male proselyte who had married an Israelite woman is also qualified; but not the daughter of a male proselyte married to a female proselyte. This applies to proselytes and to manumitted slaves, even to the tenth generation, and is in force till the mothers of these are Israelites." R. José is of opinion, "That even the daughter of a proselyte who had married a female proselyte, is qualified to be married to the priesthood."
§ 8. A father who says, "This son of mine is a bastard," is not to be believed: even should both parents admit that the child in the womb of the female is a bastard, they are not to be believed; but, according to R. Jehudah, their assertion is to receive credence.
§ 9. When a man empowered a deputy to conclude for him the betrothing of his daughter, and did subsequently betroth her himself to another man, if his betrothment was first, it is valid, but if the betrothing through the deputy had preceded that by the father, that of the deputy is alone valid; and when it cannot be ascertained which betrothing was prior, both husbands must give her Get, or, if they
should thus agree, one may give her Get, and the other may marry her; and, in like manner, when a woman empowers a deputy to conclude a betrothing for her, and she betrothed herself subsequently [to another man], if her betrothing was the first, hers is valid, but if that by the deputy was prior to hers, then that alone is valid; and when it cannot be ascertained which betrothment was the first, both husbands must give her Get, or, if they thus agree, one may give her Get, and the other may marry her.
§ 10. When a husband and wife departed to a distant country beyond sea, and he returns with her, and with children, and says, "This is the same wife that went away with me, and these are her and my children," he need not bring any further proof as to the legitimacy of either wife or children; if he says, "My wife died [abroad], and these are her children," he must prove the legitimacy of the children, but is not required to prove that of the wife.
§ 11. Should he say, "I married a woman abroad, this is she, and these are her children," he must prove the legitimacy of the wife, but need not prove that of the children. Should he say, "The wife I married [abroad] is dead, and these are her [and my] children," he must produce proof of the legitimate descent of both wife and children.
§ 12. A man ought not to be in a secluded place alone with two women, but one woman may be alone with two men; R. Simeon saith, "A man may be alone with two women, if his wife is with him, and may sleep with them at the same inn, 7 because his wife guards him;" a man may, however, be alone with his mother or daughter, and even sleep together, but when they are full grown they may only sleep together when both are dressed.
§ 13. An unmarried man should not keep school, 8 nor should a woman do so; 9 R. Eleazar saith, "Also, he whose wife is not with him."
§ 14. R. Jehudah says, "An unmarried man should not tend [or pasture] cattle, nor should two unmarried men sleep together under the same coverlet;" but the sages permit both. 10 All men whose
business leads them to be much in the company of females, should avoid being alone with them; nor should any one have his son apprenticed to a trade which is to be exercised exclusively among females; R. Meir saith, "A person should always endeavour to have his son taught a light and respectable business, and pray [for success] to Him to whom belongeth all riches and property; since there is no trade among whom there are no poor as well as rich, and neither riches nor poverty are derived from a trade alone, 11 but all depends upon personal merit and moral worth;" R. Simeon ben Eleazar saith, "Didst thou ever see any animal or bird exercise any trade or handicraft? and yet they are maintained without trouble or care; they were created to serve me; would it not follow, that I, who was created for the sole purpose of worshipping my Creator, should also find my maintenance without trouble, if it were not that, through my evil conduct, I have forfeited my maintenance?" Abba Goryom, from Zadyan, said [in the name of Abba Guryah], "A person should not bring up his children to be ass or camel drivers, barbers, mariners, shepherds, or shopkeepers, for these are not honest trades." 12 R. Jehudah says [in the name of Abba Guryah], "Most of the ass drivers are wicked persons, but the greater part of the camel drivers are generally honest; most mariners are pious; the best of physicians is destined for hell, 13 and the best butcher is a suitable companion for Amalek." 14 R. Nahorai saith, "I leave every business, and have my son only taught the Holy Law, for its rewards are partly enjoyed here, but the principal reward is reserved, to those who occupy themselves therein, in the future world. It is not thus with other [worldly] trades, for when a man engaged in them becomes
ill, or old, or suffers from other woes, and cannot longer work at them, he must perish of hunger. Not so the law, for it preserves a man from evil in his youth, and in hoary age it holds out to him the best hopes and expectations [of a glorious futurity]. In respect to his period of youth, it is said, 15 'But they that trust in the Lord shall have renewed strength;' and regarding the period of old age, it is said, 16 'They shall still bloom in old age, they shall be full of sap and verdant;' and thus it is said concerning the patriarch Abraham, 17 'Abraham was old, and God had blessed Abraham in all things.' We find also that Abraham our father observed the whole law, even before it was given, for thus it is said, 18 'Because that Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.'"
317:1 His mother was examined whether his father belonged to one of the three first mentioned classes.
317:2 Samaritans are now considered as non-Israelites in every respect.
317:3 Whether any of these had been married to unqualified persons, otherwise the sons born in such marriage would be disqualified priests.
317:4 Viz. four on the mother's, and four on the father's side. This inquiry is only then necessary when the reputation of the bride's family is impugned; and even in that case the assertion of the females themselves, though unsupported by extraneous evidence, is held to be sufficient.
318:5 Because that tribunal was known to make strict inquiries into the character of witnesses. This passage [in the original בערכי הישנה של צפורי] has been variously explained. Some understand the word חישנה to be the name of a place near Zippori, and ערכי public registrars of genealogical lists. But the denoting ה prefixed to the word ישנה, as also the word של, which shews it to be in regimen, afford, in our opinion, sufficient proof that our rendering is the more probable one. It appears to have been also thus understood by Maimonides. (See his Commentary, ad loc.)
318:6 Original באסטרטיא, from the Greek "Strateia," or host. It is unlikely, however, that all the soldiers should be of good family; it is, therefore, supposed to apply here only to the royal body guards, which were selected from the best families.
319:7 Or rather a caravansary, where all sleep together in the same room.
319:8 The reason is stated to be, that, as the mothers of the scholars frequently come to visit them, it may not give occasion for calumny and scandal, either regarding him or them.
319:9 Not to lose her reputation by the visits of the fathers of her scholars.
319:10 The Halacha, or decision, is against R. Jehudah, because Israelites are not to be suspected of the commission of so horrid a crime as ——.
320:11 Because they generally only enable men to gain a bare livelihood, or, as it is sometimes said, "To live to work, and to work to live."
320:12 Those who follow the five first-mentioned trades [which are mean ones] are suspected of pilfering the property of others in the fields, roads, and other unfrequented places, where their business leads them; also not to keep faithfully their agreement with their employers.
320:13 Because they are supposed not to be piously inclined, and, in the cure of diseases, to trust too much to their skill; according to others, because they do not sufficiently sympathise with the pains of their fellow-creatures, and will neglect a poor patient, and prove the cause of his death, in order to attend to their own interest in waiting on a rich patient, &c. It is almost needless to say, that all the above are not laws, but merely the expressions of private opinions.
320:14 Because it is supposed that his habits of shedding the blood of animals renders him cruel towards men, like that blood-thirsty nation the Amalekites.
321:15 Isaiah lx. 31.
321:16 Ps. xcii. 9.
321:17 Gen. xxiv. 1.
321:18 Gen. xxvi. 5.