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The Babylonian Talmud, Book 1: Tract Sabbath, tr. by Michael L. Rodkinson, [1903], at

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SEVERAL requests have been received by the translator that an index should be made to the volumes of the Talmud, as is customary with all modern works. It would be an utter impossibility to give a complete index of everything contained in the Talmud. Were it like other scientific works, which treat each subject separately, this could easily be done; but with the Talmud it is different. On one page many different subjects may be discussed, and again a single subject may occupy several pages. The Talmud, therefore, has never had an index, not even the portions which have been translated.

After careful examination of the volumes, page by page, it has been decided to make a synopsis, i.e., to give briefly the heads of the discussions and conversations upon each Mishna, indicating the page where the Mishna is to be found, and the Gemara of each one, which serves as a commentary. By this the reader should be able to refer to what he desires to know.

A synopsis is therefore given of every Mishna which discusses a single subject, with its accompanying Gemara; but when several short Mishnas cover the same subject, a single synopsis is given of the whole, including the Gemara of each one; and where a chapter is short and has but one subject, a synopsis of the whole chapter is made, without dividing it into Mishnas.

This is the best that can be done, and it is hoped that readers will find it satisfactory.


MISHNA I. Regulations concerning prohibited and permitted acts of transfer over the dividing line of adjoining premises and the area of such premises; the classification of premises; in which premises transfer is permitted; laws of transfer of labor, when committed by the joint efforts of two persons; transfer from and to doorsteps, 1-13

MISHNA II. Whether work may be commenced at the approach of the time for afternoon prayer; what kind of work is referred to; how a man should pray; what he must wear; when he may eat his midday meal; the

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informing of the bestowal of gifts; Sabbath as a valuable gift of God and its origin; various legends of Rabha bar Ma'hassia in the name of Rabh, 13-19

MISHNA III. Tailors and other artisans are not permitted to go out with their tools on Friday near eventide. Treats also on whether one may read by lamplight on the Sabbath; the laws of visiting the sick; what prayers may be offered for the sick, 19-22

MISHNAS IV. TO VI. How the eighteen famous ordinances were instituted in the attic of Hananya ben Hyzkiyah ben Gorion, and by whom the Roll of Fasts was written. Which acts of labor may be commenced on Friday eve; concerning labor which is accomplished without assistance of man on Sabbath; laws concerning labor which is accomplished without assistance of man on Sabbath; laws concerning work given to Gentiles. Narrative of R. Simeon ben Gamaliel concerning how his father's house dealt with Gentile clothes-washers. On transmission of letters and journeying on ships on the Sabbath. Regulations pertaining to the roasting of meats and baking of bread before the Sabbath; the sacrifices at the Temple on the Passover. Appendix to p. 8, 22-30


MISHNAS I. AND II. Permissible and non-permissible oils and wicks for lamps on the Sabbath and 'Hanukah (feast of Maccabbees); the law of the 'Hanukah lights; 'Hanukah and the miracle; the duration of 'Hanukah; benedictions to be said on that festival; the reward of those who keep the Sabbath-light commandment; the reward of those who esteem scholarship, The second Mishna treats on: What balsams may and may not be used both for light and for the person on the Sabbath; a narrative of a woman who hated her daughter-in-law; who may be called a rich man, 31-42

MISHNAS III. TO V. What wicks made from parts of trees may be used; whether broken vessels may be used for fuel on a biblical feast clay; what may be done with the residue of oil left in a lamp; practical laws of egg-shells and whether chairs may be dragged on the floor on Sabbath. The different opinions of R. Eliezer and R. Aqiba concerning the defilement of a piece of cloth, and if it is allowed to make a wick of it. What happened with R. Jehudah in the Hall of Beth Nitza and with Abhin of Ziphoris, who committed certain acts which were not allowed, in the presence of the sages, 42-49

MISHNA VI. Whether a light may be extinguished on Sabbath either for fear of accident or to afford rest for the sick; the question asked R. Tan'hum of Nav and his replying sermon; the soul being called the "Light of God"; the intended concealment of the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes; the Shekhina (divine presence) not resting with a man except through his joy of having performed a good deed; Rabha's custom when commencing his lectures to his disciples. R. Gamaliel's sermon and answers to the disciple who derided him. The story of the three proselytes rejected by Shamai and accepted by Hillel. "What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy neighbor, that is the law. All else is but a commentary." The six sections of the Mishna are inferred from a biblical passage. The first thing asked of a man

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when standing before the divine judgment is, "Hast thou traded in good faith?" The "Fear of the Lord" is the chief principle. The wicked fear death, although mentioning it every day, 48-53

MISHNAS VII. AND VIII. The sins of women are passed upon when confined in childbirth, the sins of men while in danger, A good deed is committed through the agency of a meritorious person and a bad deed through the agency of the wicked; all who are about to die must repent of their sins; the defenders of man before divine judgment are repentance and good deeds. A thousandth part of one defender saves a man from the danger threatened him by a thousand accusers. The penalties imposed upon man for hating without cause; for robbery; for perverting or procrastinating justice; for destroying the law; for murder; for adultery; for idolatry; for using obscene language. The story of R., Simeon ben Johai, who remained in a cave for twelve years. The causes leading up to his concealment in the cave; his adventures after leaving the cave. The three things to be said by a man in his house on Friday eve; how they are to be said; when twilight takes place; how many signals of the horn were blown to remind the people of the advent of the Sabbath. Is there a difference between a shophar and a fife?, 53-62


MISHNAS I. AND II. In which hearths or ovens victuals may be deposited on the Sabbath. The opinions of the school of Hillel and the school of Shamai concerning the same; the different opinions upon the teaching of the two schools. Victuals having once been taken out of an oven, would it be allowed to replace them? The law concerning a pot of victuals which had been forgotten and was thus cooked on the Sabbath. Usages of R. Jose on his way to Zipporah, and of R. Jehudah Hanassi when travelling. A narrative of R. Ishai while in the presence of R. Hyya the Great. The difference in law between an oven and a hearth; also, difference arising from an oven or a hearth being heated with straw or with wood, etc., 63-67

MISHNAS III. TO VII. Customs of the people of Tiberias relative to the heating of a pitcher of cold water. Is it allowed to place a pitcher of cold water into one filled with hot water in order to heat the water; or, vice versa, in order to heat the water? May one wash his body in the warm water of the Tiberius springs or in water warmed on the Sabbath eve? May the entire body be washed at once or each member separately? Customs in a bath-house. Are sweat-baths permitted on the Sabbath? Incidents occurring in the bath-house of the city of B'ni Brak. Why sweat-baths were prohibited. May one warm himself by a hearth-fire? Is bathing one's self in a washtub and anointing one's self with oils permitted on the Sabbath? Usages of Rabbi Jehudah Hanassi in this matter. Is swimming in a lake permitted on the Sabbath? Incidents attending R. Zera's witnessing R. Abuhu's swimming in a lake on a Sabbath. Concerning the permissibility of pouring cold water in a muliar or antikhi, the fuel of which had been removed; or in a kettle, the hot water of which had been poured out, and the prescribed quantity of such water. Concerning the addition of spices to a pot of victuals. Concerning the permissibility of placing a vessel under a burning lamp to receive its dripping oil or falling

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sparks, and the placing of a vessel under a hen to receive the egg. Ordinance relating to a corpse lying in the sun. If it is allowed to save a corpse from fire. Prayers to be offered on Sabbath over the dead. The accordance of permission to save a corpse from conflagration on the Sabbath, 67-74

MISHNAS VIII. AND IX. Concerning the handling of new and old lamps on the Sabbath. Ordinances relative to a bed which had been designated for the purpose of holding money on the Sabbath. The permissibility of handling a burning 'Hanukah lamp for fear of the Persians. The law of Muktza. The ordinance relative to handling a lamp on Sabbath and the dictum of Resh Lakish in Zidon. The ordinance concerning the nuptial couch. Action of R. Malkia while the guest of R. Simlai and R. Abuhu at the house of R. Joshua ben Levi and R. Johanan. The experience of R. Avia, who came to the house of Rabha and sat on Rabha's bed without removing his dirty shoes. Questions put to him by Rabha, and his replies. The law of a principal prohibited act. What R. Hanina did with a folding-bed that had become unfastened on a feast day, 74-82


MISHNAS I. TO IV. What substances may be used for the preserving of victuals. Rabba's and R. Zera's upbraiding of a slave of the Exilarch, while sojourning in the latter's house. Concerning the replacing of feathers in a pillow. Concerning the opening of a bunghead in a barrel and the making of a neckband in a shirt. Concerning the permissibility of depositing victuals in cloth and shorn wool intended for market. The derivation of the thirty-nine principal acts of labor on the Sabbath from the thirty-nine times "work" is mentioned in the Pentateuch. The law concerning branches of trees which were bound together to be used for fuel and were subsequently intended for sitting upon. R. Hanina ben Aqiba's action in such a case. The ordinance relating to the use of soap-powder and soap on the Sabbath. The necessity of washing one's hands and feet for the sake of the Creator. What is to be done with a pot that had not been covered on the eve of Sabbath? The decision of Ishmael in the matter in the presence of Rabbi. The mutual respect of the sages for one another. R. Na'hman's statement to Doen his servant, 83-90


MISHNAS I. TO III. What gear animals may go out in on the Sabbath. Levi the son of R. Huna bar Hyya and Rabbi the son of R. Huna, occurrence on the road. A bridle may be worn by an ass whose behavior is bad. A bridle is allowed as a guard but not as an ornament. An ass may go out with a rug, but what is the law concerning a saddle? Ordinances relative to a feed-bag. The decision of Arioch of Babylon (Samuel) in the matter. Concerning bags tied around the udders of she-goats. The miracle that was wrought for a man whose wife died and left him a nursing child. The discussion of the rabbis about such a miracle. Narrative relating to a man whose wife was maimed. Concerning gear which may not be worn by animals on Sabbath. Peculiarities of the Hanun tree and where it may be found.

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[paragraph continues] The wealth of R. Eliezer ben Azariah. Penalty for the failure to warn one's family against evil. The different signs on the foreheads of the righteous and the wicked. The seal of God. Derivation of the merits of the fathers. Is death possible without sin? Defence for Reuben and others who are mentioned in the Bible as sinners. Rabbi Hanassi's justification for David. Was David guilty of listening to slander? Consequences of David's sin. King Solomon's sin. The Archangel Gabriel's act at the time of King Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter. The most fervent penitents, 91-106


MISHNAS I. TO III. What garments a woman may go out in. Definition of totaphoth. Concerning the garb of slaves. May the rabbis wear their insignia of office on Sabbath? Effect of a sermon on the women of the city of Mehuza concerning ornaments in the shape of a crown. Ordinances concerning nose-bands, earrings, and finger-rings. What garments a man must not go out in. Consequences of wearing iron-bound sandals. The law of majority. How shoes are to be put on. Why one when anointing himself should first anoint the head. Law concerning amulets, both tried and untried. Ordinances concerning hairpins and perfume-bottles. Causes of poverty. The trees of Jerusalem, 107-117

MISHNAS IV. TO IX. Concerning bows, swords, and shields. Are they considered ornaments or is the wearing of such things degrading? Interpretation of biblical passages. Are they to be taken literally or figuratively. Rewards emanating from the proper study of the Law. Customs of scholars when discussing the Law. God's blessing upon scholars who mutually instruct one another. Regarding a man who keeps a vicious dog about his premises. Why the children of Israel were in need of forgiveness upon their return from the war with the Midianites. What garments women, young girls, and boys may go out in on Sabbath. References to cripples and to children of princes. Concerning the danger of imitating the customs of the Amorites. Occurrence at the feast given by R. Aqiba, 117-126


MISHNAS I. TO III. The principal rule concerning the Sabbath. Regulations regarding children in captivity among idolaters and converts. Remaining with idolaters. Rules concerning one who was ignorant as to what labor was prohibited on the Sabbath but was conscious of the Sabbath, and vice versa. Concerning a man who, while travelling in a desert, had forgotten which day was Sabbath. How labor may be distinguished. Different instances of forgetfulness regarding Sabbath and the performance of labor on the Sabbath. Instances of forgetfulness in dietary matters. Instances of intentional and unintentional performance of labor, and their distinction. Enumeration of the forty, less one, acts of labor. Principal and incidental acts. The degree of guilt involved in learning magic arts. Condemnation of one who is able to acquire astronomical knowledge and neglects to do so. Another rule was laid down. Discussions concerning the carrying out of necessary things on the Sabbath and the limitation of quantity. Different kinds of food may be counted together, 127-142

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MISHNAS I. TO V. The prescribed quantities of wine, honey, and milk that may be carried out on Sabbath. The strength of different wines. In stances of stronger creatures fearing weaker ones. Why goats precede sheep in a flock. Why are she-goats not covered with a tail like sheep? Why has a camel a short tail? Why has an ox a long tail? Why are the feelers of a locust soft? What is the reason that the lower eyelids of a hen turn up? Three creatures grow stronger, etc. The quantity of rope, paper from which writing has been erased, skins, parchment, bones, loam, etc., which may be carried out on the Sabbath. Honor of man supersedes a biblical commandment. What is magic? The explanation of the verse Isaiah, xxxv. 14, 143-153


MISHNAS I. TO VII. Sayings and deductions of R. Aqiba. The day of the week and the month on which the Law was given to Israel. Assumption of authority by Moses and God's acquiescence. The name of the month on which the Israelites left Egypt, and was it an intercalary month? The compulsory acceptance of the law by the Israelites and their subsequent voluntary acceptance in the days of Xerxes of Persia. Israel's readiness to obey even before hearing. The publication of every word spoken by God in seventy languages. Comparison of the sayings of the Torah with a nobleman. The understanding of the Law is healthful, its misinterpretation is poisonous. Every word leaving the mouth of the Lord filled the world with aromatic odors. Complaints of the angels upon the ascension of Moses to heaven. Moses' answer. Satan's search for the Torah. Concerning the bearing of a slave toward his master. Rabha's lecture upon the patriarchs and their answers to the complaints of God concerning the children of Israel. Isaac's defence of the children of Israel upon the Lord's telling him that they had sinned. The quantity of spices, dyes, metals, pedler's boxes, and seeds which may be carried out on the Sabbath, 154-170


MISHNAS I. TO VIII. Rules pertaining to one who carries out things valuable to him. The quantities in which they may be carried out. The quantities in which they may be carried out by one to whom they are not valuable. Concerning eatables which are carried out of the house and left on the doorstep, and things that are carried in the left hand, on the shoulder, on the head, or in the bosom. Concerning one who, while intending to carry a thing in front, accidentally carries it on his back, or vice versa. Concerning the case of two men carrying out a burden which one alone was not capable of carrying. The law in that case. Concerning the case of one who carries out eatables in quantities less than the limit in a vessel. Is he culpable for carrying the vessel or not? Concerning the permissibility of paring the finger-nails of one hand by means of those of the other hand oil the Sabbath. The case of one tearing off flowers from a plant in an unperforated flower-pot, 171-182

Next: Chapter I: Regulations Regarding Transfer on Sabbath