TOPIC: THE TALMUD
THE TALMUD 07 Jul 2018 12:35 #1
The author searched in the BABYLONIAN TALMUD, translated online (sefaria.org), for the source of a number of supposed quotes from the TALMUD, all paraphrased, listed on an internet forum. This contained around sixty quotes in total, none of which were directly quoted from the translated text of the Talmud.
At least three of the quotes were not found in the place in the Talmud they were supposed to be. Many others were either referenced wrongly (i.e. impossible to find in the online version of the Talmud) or referred to books other than the Talmud or books which do not in fact exist. Another three seemed ambiguous and I was uncertain whether or not they really had the meaning ascribed to them in the forum list.
As the end result of this, there are quoted below a total of twenty direct quotes from the English translation of the Talmud, including one which was not on the list which I stumbled upon during my research (Avodah Zarah 26b). These seem to have roughly the same signification as ascribed to them on the original list, but I’ll leave it up to you to consider for yourselves what they signify in reality, surely there will be dispute about this and it is entirely possible that I’ve missed or misunderstood some subtleties.
I hope this work will prove helpful to anyone in search of understanding.
In a case when one found a lost item in a city where both Jews and gentiles reside, if the city has a majority of Jews he is obligated to proclaim his find. If there is a majority of gentiles he is not obligated to proclaim his find.
(BABA MEZIA 24a)
Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai says that the graves of gentiles do not render one impure, as it is stated: “And you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, are man” (Ezekiel 34:31), which teaches that you, i.e., the Jewish people, are called “man,” but gentiles are not called “man.” Since the Torah states with regard to ritual impurity imparted in a tent: “If a man dies in a tent” (Numbers 19:14), evidently impurity imparted by a tent does not apply to gentiles.
(BAVA MEZIA 114b)
The Gemara asks: What does it mean that the Torah does not deem a younger boy to be like an older boy? Rav says: It means that the Torah does not deem the intercourse of one who is less than nine years old to be like the intercourse of one who is at least nine years old, as for a male’s act of intercourse to have the legal status of full-fledged intercourse the minimum age is nine years. And Shmuel says: The Torah does not deem the intercourse of a child who is less than three years old to be like that of one who is three years old.
The Gemara asks: With regard to what principle do Rav and Shmuel disagree? The Gemara answers: Rav holds that any halakha that applies to one who engages in intercourse actively applies to one who engages in intercourse passively, and any halakha that does not apply to one who engages in intercourse actively does not apply to one who engages in intercourse passively. Therefore, just as one who engages in intercourse actively is not liable if he is less than nine years old, as the intercourse of such a child does not have the halakhic status of intercourse, so too, if a child who is less than nine years old engages in homosexual intercourse passively, the one who engages in intercourse with him is not liable.
The Gemara challenges: But wherever there is liability for capital punishment, this tanna teaches it; as it is taught in the first clause: With regard to bloodshed, if a gentile murders another gentile, or a gentile murders a Jew, he is liable. If a Jew murders a gentile, he is exempt. Evidently, the term liable is used in the baraita.
The Gemara answers: There, in that case, how should the tanna teach it? Should he teach it using the terms prohibited and permitted, indicating that a Jew may kill a gentile ab initio? But isn’t it taught in a baraita that with regard to a gentile, and likewise with regard to Jewish shepherds of small livestock, who were typically robbers, one may not raise them out of a pit into which they fell, and one may not lower them into a pit? In other words, one may not rescue them from danger, but neither may one kill them ab initio. With regard to robbery, the term permitted is relevant, as it is permitted for a Jew to rob a gentile.
Rather, Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, says that there is a different explanation: It is necessary only to teach the halakha of one who withholds the wages of a hired laborer; for a gentile to do so to another gentile and for a gentile to do so to a Jew is prohibited, but for a Jew to do so to a gentile is permitted. This case is less obvious than other types of robbery, as instead of taking an item from the victim, the robber withholds money that is due to the victim.
Rabbi Ḥanina says: A gentile who struck a Jew is liable to receive the death penalty, as it is stated when Moses saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew: “And he turned this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he struck the Egyptian and hid him in the sand” (Exodus 2:12).
And Rabbi Ḥanina says: One who slaps the cheek of a Jew is considered as though he slapped the cheek of the Divine Presence; as it is stated: “It is a snare [mokesh] for a man to rashly say [yala]: Holy” (Proverbs 20:25). The verse is interpreted homiletically to mean: One who strikes [nokesh] a Jew is considered as though he hurt the cheek [lo’a] of the Holy One.
And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: A gentile who engages in Torah study is liable to receive the death penalty; as it is stated: “Moses commanded us a law [torah], an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4), indicating that it is an inheritance for us, and not for them.
The Gemara challenges: But if so, let the tanna count this prohibition among the seven Noahide mitzvot. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that the verse is referring to the Torah as an inheritance, this prohibition is included in the prohibition of robbery, as a gentile who studies Torah robs the Jewish people of it. According to the one who says that the verse is referring to the Torah as betrothed, as the spelling of the Hebrew word for betrothed [me’orasa], is similar to that of the word for inheritance [morasha], the punishment of a gentile who studies Torah is like that of one who engages in intercourse with a betrothed young woman, which is execution by stoning.
Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: One who marries his daughter to an old man, and one who takes a wife for his minor son, and one who returns a lost item to a gentile are all individuals who are the cause of sin. Marriage to an old man or a minor leaves the woman unsatisfied and is apt to lead to licentiousness. One who returns lost property to gentiles adds to the property that they stole from Jews. With regard to each of them the verse states: “Lest there should be among you a man or a woman…whose heart turns away this day from the Lord…saying: I will have peace, even though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, that the quenched shall be added to the thirsty. The Lord will not be willing to pardon him”
Learn from this that the Merciful One dispossesses the male gentile of his offspring, as it is written with regard to Egyptians: “Whose flesh is the flesh of donkeys, and whose semen is the semen of horses” (Ezekiel 23:20), i.e., the offspring of a male gentile is considered no more related to him than the offspring of donkeys and horses.
MISHNA: One may not keep an animal in the inns [befundekaot] of gentiles because they are suspected of bestiality. Since even gentiles are prohibited from engaging in bestiality, a Jew who places his animal there is guilty of violating the prohibition: “You shall not put a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14). And a woman may not seclude herself with gentiles because they are suspected of engaging in forbidden sexual relations. And any person may not seclude himself with gentiles because they are suspected of bloodshed.
(AVODAH ZARAH 22a)
“The Sages taught: A Jew may circumcise a gentile for the sake of making him a convert. This is to the exclusion of circumcising a gentile for the sake of removing a worm [murna], which is not permitted, as it is forbidden to heal a gentile.”
(AVODAH ZARAH 26b)
The inquiry was as follows: With regard to a male gentile child, from when, i.e., from what age, does he impart ritual impurity as one who experiences ziva? And Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to me: From when he is one day old. And when I came to Rabbi Ḥiyya, he said to me: From when he is nine years and one day old.
And when I came back and relayed Rabbi Ḥiyya’s statement before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, he said to me: Discard my statement, and grasp the statement of Rabbi Ḥiyya, who says: From when does a gentile child impart ritual impurity as one who experiences ziva? From when he is nine years and one day old.
The Gemara explains the reason for this opinion: Since a nine-year-old boy is fit to engage in intercourse, he also imparts ritual impurity as one who experienced ziva. Ravina said: Therefore, with regard to a female gentile child who is three years and one day old, since she is fit to engage in intercourse at that age, she also imparts impurity as one who experienced ziva.
(AVODAH ZARAH 36a)
Rabbi Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: They decreed upon their daughters that they should be classified as menstruating women from the time they are in their cradle, i.e., they decreed that from when they are young, gentile women are always considered to be menstruating.
(AVODAH ZARAH 36b)
One who uses the official anointing oil [that has been consecrated] to smear on an animal or vessels is innocent of violating the holiness of the oil, to smear on gentiles or corpses is innocent. Certainly an animal and vessels as it say (Exodus 30:32) "It shall not be smeared on flesh of man (Adam)…" and an animal and vessels are not man. One who smears on corpses is also innocent since it is dead it is called a corpse and not a man. However, why is one who smears on gentiles innocent? They are men! No, as it says (Ezekiel 34:31) "Now, you [Israel] are My sheep , the sheep of My pasture, you are Man (Adam)…" You [Israel, the subject of the verse] are called Man (Adam) and gentiles are not called Man (Adam).
Rav Oshaya raised an objection to the opinion of Rav from the mishna: With regard to an adult man who engaged in intercourse with a minor girl less than three years old, or a minor boy less than nine years old who engaged in intercourse with an adult woman, or a woman who had her hymen ruptured by wood or any other foreign object, the marriage contract for each of these women is two hundred dinars. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir. And the Rabbis say: The marriage contract of a woman whose hymen was ruptured by wood is one hundred dinars. Contrary to Rav’s opinion, the Rabbis distinguish between the halakha in the case of the intercourse of a minor boy and the halakha in the case of a woman whose hymen was ruptured by wood.
Rava said that this is what the mishna is saying: An adult man who engaged in intercourse with a minor girl less than three years old has done nothing, as intercourse with a girl less than three years old is tantamount to poking a finger into the eye. In the case of an eye, after a tear falls from it another tear forms to replace it. Similarly, the ruptured hymen of the girl younger than three is restored. And a young boy who engaged in intercourse with an adult woman renders her as one whose hymen was ruptured by wood. And with regard to the case of a woman whose hymen was ruptured by wood itself, there is a dispute between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis. Rabbi Meir maintains that her marriage contract is two hundred dinars, and the Rabbis maintain that it is one hundred dinars.
Rava expounded another verse in similar fashion: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And more than these, my son, be careful: of making many books [sefarim] there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)? My son, be careful to fulfill the words of the Sages [soferim] even more than the words of the Torah. For the words of the Torah include positive and negative commandments, and even with regard to the negative commandments, the violation of many of them is punishable only by lashes. Whereas with respect to the words of the Sages, anyone who transgresses the words of the Sages is liable to receive the death penalty, as it is stated: “And whoever breaches through a hedge, a snake shall bite him” (Ecclesiastes 10:8), taking hedges to refer metaphorically to decrees.
Lest you say: If the words of the Sages are of substance and have such great importance, why were they not written in the Torah, therefore, the verse states: “Of making many books there is no end,” meaning that it is impossible to fully commit the Oral Torah to writing, as it is boundless.
What is the meaning of the words: “And much study [lahag] is a weariness of the flesh”? Rav Pappa, son of Rav Aḥa bar Adda, said in the name of Rav Aḥa bar Ulla: This teaches that whoever mocks [malig] the words of the Sages will be sentenced to boiling excrement, which results from the weariness of the flesh of man.
However, this reasoning is rejected: It is only Elijah who will not arrive on Shabbat eve, but the Messiah himself may arrive, for once the Messiah comes, all the nations will be subservient to the Jewish people, and they will help them prepare whatever is needed for Shabbat.
With regard to an ox of a Jew that gored the ox of a gentile, the owner of the belligerent ox is exempt from liability. But with regard to an ox of a gentile that gored the ox of a Jew, regardless of whether the goring ox was innocuous or forewarned, the owner of the ox pays the full cost of the damage.
(BAVA KAMMA 37b)
Rav Ashi said: The mishna issues its ruling with regard to a gentile customs collector, whom one may deceive, as it is taught in a baraita: In the case of a Jew and a gentile who approach the court for judgment in a legal dispute, if you can vindicate the Jew under Jewish law, vindicate him, and say to the gentile: This is our law. If he can be vindicated under gentile law, vindicate him, and say to the gentile: This is your law. And if it is not possible to vindicate him under either system of law, one approaches the case circuitously, seeking a justification to vindicate the Jew. This is the statement of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Akiva disagrees and says: One does not approach the case circuitously in order to vindicate the Jew due to the sanctification of God’s name, as God’s name will be desecrated if the Jewish judge employs dishonest means.
The Gemara infers from this baraita: And even according to Rabbi Akiva, the reason that the court does not employ trickery in order to vindicate the Jew is only because there is the consideration of the sanctification of God’s name. Consequently, if there is no consideration of the sanctification of God’s name, the court does approach the case circuitously. Apparently, it is permitted to deceive a gentile.
(BAVA KAMMA 113a)
Onkelos then went and raised Jesus the Nazarene from the grave through necromancy. Onkelos said to him: Who is most important in that world where you are now? Jesus said to him: The Jewish people. Onkelos asked him: Should I then attach myself to them in this world? Jesus said to him: Their welfare you shall seek, their misfortune you shall not seek, for anyone who touches them is regarded as if he were touching the apple of his eye (see Zechariah 2:12).
Onkelos said to him: What is the punishment of that man, a euphemism for Jesus himself, in the next world? Jesus said to him: He is punished with boiling excrement. As the Master said: Anyone who mocks the words of the Sages will be sentenced to boiling excrement. And this was his sin, as he mocked the words of the Sages
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