The principal works of the hand are forty save one:--To sow, to plow, to reap, to bind in sheaves, to. thrash, to winnow, to sift corn, to grind, to bolt meal, to knead, to bake, to shear, to wash wool, to comb wool, to, dye it, to spin, to warp, to shoot two threads, to weave two threads, to cut and tie two threads, to tie, to untie, to sew two stitches, to tear two threads with intent to sew, to hunt game, to slay, to skin, to salt a hide, to singe, to tan, to cut up a skin, to write two letters, to scratch out two letters with intent to write, to build, to pull down, to put out a fire, to light a fire, to smite with a hammer, to convey from one Reshuth[*] to another.
Shabbath, fol. 73, col. 1.
King Yanai had a single tree on the royal mound, whence once a month they collected forty seahs (about fifteen bushels) of young pigeons of three different breeds.
Berachoth, fol. 44, col. 1.
[*. A private property in opposition to a public.]
Forty years before the destruction of the Temple the Sanhedrin were exiled, and they sat in the Halls of Commerce.
Shabbath, fol. 15, col. x.
Until one is forty eating is more advantageous than drinking. After that age the rule is reversed.
Ibid., fol. 152, col. 1.
The Rabbis have taught that during the forty years in which Simeon the just officiated in the Temple the lot always fell on the right (see Lev. xvi. 8-10). After that time it sometimes fell on the right and sometimes on the left. The crimson band also, which in his time had always turned white, after that period sometimes turned white, and at others it did not change color at all.
Yoma, fol. 39, col. 1.
The Rabbis have taught:--Forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot did not fall on the right, and the crimson band did not turn white; the light in the west did not burn, and the gates of the Temple opened of themselves, so that Rabbi Yochanan ben Zacchai rebuked them, and said, "O Temple! Temple! why art thou dismayed? I know thy end will be that thou shalt be destroyed, for Zachariah the son of Iddo has already predicted respecting thee (Zech. xi. i), 'Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.'"
Ibid., fol. 39, col. 2.
During the forty years that Israel were in the wilderness there was not a midnight in which the north wind did not blow.
Yevamoth, fol. 71, col. 1.
Rabbi Zadok fasted forty years that Jerusalem might not be destroyed, and so emaciated was he, that when he ate anything it might be seen going down his throat.
Gittin, fol. 56, col. 1.
Forty days before the formation of a child a Bath Kol proclaims, "The daughter of so-and-so shall marry the son of so-and-so; the premises of so-and-so shall be the property of so-and-so."
Soteh, fol. 2, col. 1.
Rav Hunna and Rav Chasda were so angry with one another that they did not meet for forty years. After that
Rav Chasda fasted forty days for having annoyed Rav Hunna, and Rav Hunna forty days for having suspected Rav Chasda.
Bava Metzia, fol. 33, col. 1.
A female who marries at forty will never have any children.
He who eats black cummin the weight of a denarius will have his heart torn out; so also will he who eats forty eggs or forty nuts, or a quarter of honey.
He that cooks in milk the nerve Nashe on a yearly festival, and then eats it, receives five times forty stripes save one, etc.
Baitza, fol. 12, col. 1.
He who passes forty consecutive days without suffering some affliction has received his good reward in his lifetime (Cf. Luke xvi. 25).
Erachin, fol. 16, col. 2.
If a bath contain forty measures of water and some mud, people may, according to Rabbi Elazar, immerse themselves in the water of it, but not in the mud; while Rabbi Yehoshua says they may do so in both.
Mikvaoth, chap. ii. 10.