Isidore Singer.

The Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 11) online

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was in poor circumstances. Finally he settled at
Bologna, where he founded a Talmudical school,
which he conducted until his death.

Obadiah was an indefatigable writer, chiefly in
the field of Biblical exegesis. The characteristic
features of his exegetical work are respect for the.
literal meaning of the text and a reluctance to enter-
tain mystical interpretations. He possessed excel-
lent judgment in the selection of explanations from
the earlier exegetes, as Rashi, Ibn Ezra, RaSHBaM,
and Nahmanides, and he veiy often gives original
interpretations which betray an extensive philolog-
ical knowledge. He wrote the following commen-
taries: on the Pentateuch (Venice, 1567) ; on Canticles
and Ecclesiastes, that on the latter being dedicated
to King Henry II. of France (ib.) ; on the P.salms {ih.
1586);""Mishi3at Zedek," on Job {ib. 1589); on the
books of Jonah, Habakkuk, and Zechariah, pub-
lished with David ibn Hiu's "Likkute Shoshannim "
(Amsterdam, 1724). He wrote also *' Kawwanat ha-
Torah," prefixed to the Pentateuch commentary.

Obadiah was active also in the domain of religious
philosophy. In a work entitled "Or 'Ammim "
(Bologna, 1537) he endeavored to combat with Bib-
lical arguments the theories of Aristotle cm the eter-
nity of matter, on God's omniscience, and on the
universality of the soul, as well as various other
Aristotelian views that seemed to conflict with relig-
ion. In the introduction Obadiah says that he was
induced to write his work by the fact that even so
great ?. man as Maimonides had expressed the opin-
ion that all the theories of Aristotle concerning the
sublunary world are ab.solutely correct. Obadiah
himself translated the " Or 'Ammim " into Latin and

sent it to Henry II. of France, but it has never been
published. Another work on religious philosophy
by Obadiah is his commentary on the sayings of the
Fathers, published in the introduction to the Roman
Mahzor (Bologna, 1540).

Obadiah was the author of the following
works, still extant in manuscript: "Bi'ur le-Sefer
Uklidas," a paraphrase of the eight books of Euclid,
translated from the Arabic (Bibliotheque Nalionale,
]\IS. No. 435); "Derashot" (Halberstam MSS., No.
331); "Dikduk Leshon 'Ibri," a Hebrew grammar.

Bibliography: Ibn Yahya, ShahlieJet ha-Kahhalah, p. 52,
eii. Ainsterctam ; Ga.ns,'Zeniah Dawid, 1. 31a, ed. Offtmbach ;
Conforte, Ki))e Jta-Donit, p. 2.V); Rossi, Z>i2to)ia/ io, ji. :>94;
Wolf, Dih'l. Hebr. i. 939; Caniioly, Hi.vfoij-e dcs Mcdecins
Jin'f.v, i. 147; GeiRcr, JoIkiiui Jicvcldiii, pp. 37, lOo; Stein-
schneiikT, (Vtf. liodl. col. 207'); Griitz, Gct'ch. ix. 43; Vogel-
stein ami Rieger, Grsth. derJuden in Rom, pp. 77 et seq.;
Fiiikcl, Obadiah Sforno ali K.reAjct.

Osheah ben Nissim Isaac Sforno : Rabbi at
Mantua in the first half of the seventeenth century.
A religious poem of his was inserted by Joseph
Jedidiah Karmi in his "Kenaf Renanim."
Bibliography: Mortara, Tndice, p. 61.

Solomon Samuel ben Nissim Israel Sforno :
Rabbi at Asti, later at Venice; died in 1617. Sev-
eral responsa of his were inserted by Jacob Heil-
bronner in his "Nahalat Ya'akob" (Padua, 1622).
Solomon left in manuscript commentaries on
Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Daniel, the Megillot, Ezra,
Nehemiah, and Chronicles. He edited the "Cu-
zari " with the commentary of Judah Moscato (Ven-
ice, 1594). On his death a funeral sermon was pro-
nounced by Leon of Modena, who lauded him in the
highest terms.

Bibliography : Nepi-Ghirondi, Toledot Oednle Yi'^rael, p. 341 ;
Mortara, Indice, p. 61 ; Furst, Bibl. Jud. iil. 318 ; Berliner,
Liihot Abaniw, No. 261.
s. ■ I. Br.

SHA'ATNEZ 0:12)]}^) : Fabric consisting of a
mixture of wool and linen, the wearing of which is
forbidden by the Mosaic law (Lev. xix. 19; Dent,
xxii. 11). The Septuagint rendering is Ki(i6r//.ov
(something false, adulterated, or drossy). In the
Coptic or Egyptian language ''sasht" means
"weave" and "nouz," ""; the compound
"sha'at-nez," therefore, signifies i "false weave."
The Mishnah explains the word TJtDyK' as the
acrostic of three words, yiK', ""lO, tU ("carded,"
"woven," and "twisted"; Kil. ix. 8).

The combining of various fabrics in one garment,
like the interbreeding of different species of ani-
mals, or the planting together of different kinds of
seeds, is prohibited as being contrary to the laws of
nature. The cabalists regard such combination as
a defiance of God, who established natural laws and
gave each species its individuality.

Maimonides bases the prohibition on the general

law against imitating heathen customs: " Ye shall

not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast

out before you" (Lev. xx. 23), and

Views of says, "The heathen priests adorned
Mai- themselves with garments containing

monides. vegetable and animal materials, while
they held in their hand a seal of min-
eral. This you will find written in their books"
("Moreh," iii. 37). Other critics consider the pro-
hibition of sha'atnez from a hygienic point of view,




and reason that the elements of wool and linen are
diametrically opposed to each other, since the wool
has an absorbing and shrinking nature while linen
is resistant and nou-shrinkable, these conflicting
tendencies neutralizing each other and causing dis-
order in connection with the effusion of perspiration
from the bod}'.

It appears, however, that sha'atuez was per-
mitted in the case of the priest's girdle, which was
interwoven with ])urple, blue, and scarlet wool (Ex.
X-Xxix. 29); it may be used also in the case of the
purple and the blue cord entwined in the zizit, or
the woolen zizit on a linen garment (Yeb. 4b, 5b),
as the sacredness of the purpose is supposed to pro-
tect against any evil effect. The phrase " lo yah-
I geru ba-yaza' " (" they shall not gird themselves with
any thing that causeth sweat"; Ezek. xliv. 18) is
interpreted in the Talmud to mean " they shall not
gird themselves around the bent of the body, where
sweat effuses most " (Zeb. 181)). I'abbi is of the
opinion that the girdle of the ordinary priest was of
sha'atuez ; R. Eleazar says it was of tine linen. The
liigh priest wore a linen girdle on Yom Kippur and
a girdle of sha'atnez on all other days (Yoma 12b).

By the Mosaic law sha'atnez is prohibited only
after it has been carded, woven, and twisted, but the
Rabbis prohibit it if it has been subjected to any one
of these operations (Niddah 61b). Hence felt cloth,
of mixed wool and linen, is forbidden (Kil. ix. 9).
On the other hand, the Rabbis recognize only sheep's
wool as wool, the finest being that of lambs and
rams (comp. II Kings iii. 4); they exclude camels"
hair, the fur of hares, and the wool of goats. If any
of the excluded wools is nuxed with sheep's wool,
or spun with it into thread, the character of the
material is determined by the proportion of each.
If the greater part of it is sheep's wool, it is reckoned
as wool; if the contrary, it is not so regarded, anil
may be mixed again with linen (Kil. ix. 1).

A woolen garment may be worn over a linen gar-
ment, or vice versa, but they may not be knotted or
sewed together. Sha'atnez is prohibited only when
worn as an ordinary garment, for the
Ex- ])rotectinn or benetitof the body (Sifra,

ceptional Deut. 232), or for its warmth (Bezah
Cases. 15a), but not if carried on the back as
a burden or as merchandise. Cush-
ions and tapestry with which the bare body is
not in touch do not come under the prnhiliition (Kil.
ix. 2). To lie on sha'atnez is permitted by the strict
interpretation of the Mosaic law. but the Itabbis
feared lest some part of the sha'atnez might fold
over and touch partof the body ; hence they went to
the extreme of declaring that even if only the lowest
of ten couch-cover.s is of sha'atnez one may not lie
on them (Yoma (i9a). Pillows, if of a kind that
leaves no likelihood of their folding over and touch-
ing the body, are permitted to be of sha'atnez. Felt
soles with heels are also permitted (Bezah 15a), be-
cause they are stiff and do not warm the feet.

In later times the Rabbis were inclined to modify
the law. Thus siia'atnez was permitted to be used
in stiff hats (" Sefcr lia-Hinnuk." section " Ki Teze,"
Ko. 571). Silk resembling wool, and hemj) resem-
bling linen, which formerly were foibidden *' for ap-
pearance sake" (Kil. ix. 3), were later permitted

in combination with either wool or linen, because
" we now know how to distinguish them." Hempen
thread was manufactured and permitted for use in
sewing Avoolen clothing.

A linen admixture isdetected during the process of
dyeing cloth, as wool absorbs the dye more readily
than does linen (Niddah 61b). Wool is distinguished
from linen by three tests — feeling, burning, and
smelling; linen burns in aflame, while wool singes
and creates an unpleasant odor. There were special
experts employed to detect sha'atnez ("HaKarmel,"
i.,No. 40).

The observance of the laws concerning sha'atnez
was relaxed in the sixteenth century; and the Coun-
cil OF Four Lands found it necessary to enact (1607)
a"'takkanah" against sha'atnez, especially warning
women not to sew woolen trails to linen dresses, nor
to sew a velvet strip in front of the dress, as vel-
vet had a linen back (Griitz, "Gesch." vii. 36, Hebrew
ed., Warsaw, 1899).

Bibliography: Maitnonide.s, Yad, Kilayini, x.-. Tin- Yoreh
Dc'ali: Sliulhati 'Arvh, Yorel) I>c'a?/, 298-3()-t;' Israel Lip-
schiitz, Batte' Kilauim. appended to his commentary on the
MMinah, .section Zcra'nn : Ha-Magai(l{\S6i), viii., Nos. 20,
35; M. M. Saler, Yalkut Yizhak, il. 48a, Warsaw, ]81i9.
w. 15. .... J ^ ^

SHABABO (pT), JESHUA : Egyptian scribe
and labbi ; lived in the last quarter of the seven-
teenth century. His teachers were Rabbis Abraham
liaLevi of Cairo and Joseph Nazir, who afterward
became his f;itlier-in-law (see Joseph N.\zih ben
H.wYi.M Moses h.\ The relation between
teacher and pupil maybe inferred from the fact that
Abraham ha-Levi included some dissertations of his
pupil in his work " Ginnat Weradim." The two
men dilTered in opinion, and the pupil answered his
teacher in " Perah Shushan " (Constantinople. 1732).
Besides, he wrote "Sha'are Oiah," "Sha'are Torah,"
and a large work in two parts entitled "Sha'are
Yeshu'ali," containing responsa. Shababo was for
some time a sofer, but resigned this office from re-
ligious motives when he was appointed dayyan of

K. c. L. Guv.

SHABBAT (" Sabbath ") : Treatise in the Mish-
nah, Tosefta, and both Talmuds; devoted chiefly to
rules and regulations for the Sabbath. The Scrip-
tural passages that treat of the Sabbath and of the
laws for its observance, thus forming the cxegetical
basis of this, are: Ex. xvi. 22 et seq.\ xx.
10; xxiii. 12; xxxiv. 21; xxxv. 2, 3; Num. xv. 32
et scq. ; Deut. v. 14; Jer. xvii. 21 ct seq. ; Amos viii.
5; Nell. X. 31, xiii. 15 et scq. Shabbat is the first
treatise in the mishnaic order Seder Mo'ed, and
is divided into twenty-four chapters, containing 13d
paragraphs in all.

Cli. i. : Ways in which things may not be brought
from a private domain ("resliut ha-yahid ") to the

public domain ("reshut ha-rabbim ")
Contents, and vice versa on the Salibath (§ 1);

things which ma}' not be done on Fri-
day afternoon or by lamplight on Friday evening
(iii^ 2-3); rules adopted at tiie council in the upper
chamber of Ilananiah b. Ilezekiah b. Garon (| 4);
additional particulars concerning things which may
not be done on Friday (Sji 5-11).

Shabbat ha-Gadol



Cb. ii. : Illumination on the Sabbath, the kinds of
oil which maybe used, and the materials which may
serve as wicks (§§ 1-3); furtiier details concerning
lamps (§4); cases in which lamps may be extin-
guished on the Sabbath (§ 5) ; the three duties of
women neglect of wliich may cost them their lives
(§6); the three things of which the master of the
house must remind his household at twilight on
Friday evening (§ 7).

Ch. iii. and iv. : Permitted and prohibited meth-
ods in which food may be warmed or kept warm on
the Sabbath ; concerning things which are regarded
as set apart ("mukzeh ") and which one is forbid-
rfen to move on that day.

Cli. v. : With what an animal may be led on the
Sabbath {e.g., a halter), and what may be placed
on it {e.g., a blanket), and what may not be placed
on it. every object not requisite for the health or
safety of the animal, or for guarding it, being re-
garded as a burden, and it being forbidden to load
a beast on that day.

Ch. vi. : Gartnent.s which may be worn by men,
women, and children, and those which may not be
worn ; a discussion of the question whether weapons
adorn a man. the majority of the sages deciding that
they disgrace him who bears them, since thej' are
implements of murder, inasmuch as. according to
Isa. ii. 4, liie iileal of the future is a time when the
nations shall tlwell in everlasting harmony and shall
change their arms to implements of peace.

Ch. vii. : Tiie gradations, according to circum-
stances, of the sin-offeiing for breaking the Sabbath ;
enumeration of the thirty- nine chief kinds of work
which are forbidden, namely, seven of agriculture,
four of cooking, thirteen of tailoring, seven of
butchering and tanning, two of writing and erasing,
two of building and demolishing, two of kindling
and extinguisiiiug fires, one of the hammer-stroke
(giving the finishing touch to a thing), and one of
carrying an object from the reshut ha-yahid to the
reshut ha rabbim and vice versa.

Ch. viii. : Determination of (juantilies in the case
of various objects which render one guilty of a vio-
lation of the Sabbath in carrying them on that day.
In the last paragraph (§7) of this chapter Isa. xxx.
14 is quoted as a text.

CI), ix. : Biblical verses cited as additional proofs
or texts (^§ 1-4); further details concerning the quan-
tities of many things that may not be carried on the
Sabbath (;;§ 5-7).

Ch. X. : Concerning those in which one
who transports an obj.ect is not guilty of violating
the Sabbath (ij^ 1-4); cases in which two persons
who carry an object together from one place to an-
other are guilty, and those in which they are inno-
cent; on the transportation of a corpse or of a living
man (^ 5); on the problem whether one who bites or
cuts his nails or plucks out his hair on the Sabbath
is guilty of a violation of that day (§ 6).

Ch. xi. : On throwing objects from one place to
another, fnun one house across the street to another,
from the land into the water and vice versa, or from
a ship into the sea and vice versa.

Ch. xii. : Concerning building, hanuneriug, savv-
ing. boring, weeding fields, felling trees, and gather-
ing wood or greens (g§ 1-2); on writing two letters

of the alphabet and of writing in general, together
with the cases in which one by writing does not
violate the Sabbath (^^ 3-6).

Ch. xiii. : Concerning weaving, spinning, sew-
ing, tearing, washing, dyeing, and hunting.

Ch. xiv. : Cases in which hunting on the Sabbath
does not render one guilty of violation of that day
(§ 1); on the preparation of a solution of salt (§ 2);
medicines and remedies permitted on the Sabbath,
and those which are forbidden (t^§ 3-4).

Ch. XV.: The knots which may be tied on the
Sabbath and those which may not be tied (^§ 1-2) ;
on putting clothes away and on making beds (§ 3).

Ch. xvi. : In case a fire breaks out on the Sabbath,
sacred writings and phylacteries ("tefillin ") maj^ be
rescued, as well as such food as is necessary for
that day; non-Jews, but not Jews, may be allowed
to extinguish the fire; but a Jew may not urge a
uou-Jew to do any work for him on the Sabbath.

Ch. xvii. : Vessels which may be carried on the
Sabbath ; blinds may be lowered on that day.

Ch. xviii. : Things which may be moved on the
Sabbath ; calves and the foals of asses ma}' be led ;
a woman maj"^ lead her child, though she may not
carry it; cattle ma}' be helped when about to give
birth ; and the Sabbath is not broken by assisting
a woman in labor.

Ch. xix. : Circumcision on the Sabbath; that day
is not violated by a circumcision or by the necessary
preparations for one.

Ch. XX. : Wine may be strained and cattle fed on
the Sabbath.

Ch. xxi. ; In what manner many objects, regarded
as set apart, may be moved and put away (§§ 1-2);
the clearing of the table (55 3).

Ch. xxii. ; On the preparation of food and drink
on the Sabbath (ii;§ 1-4); bathing and anointing
with oil on that day (§§ 5-6).

Ch. xxiii. : Lending, raflling, and distributing
food and drink on the Sabbath (tit; 1-2) ; preparations
for the evening of the week-day which may be made
on the Sabbath (§§ 3-4); the degree of care for the
dead which is permissible on the Sabbath (§ 5).

Ch. xxiv. : On the case of a traveler overtaken by
the Sabbath eve before he reaches a city (§1); the
feeding of cattle (>;§ 2-4) ; the fulfilment of vows on
that day (tj 5).

The catalogue and definition of various tasks,
and the lists of garments, utensils, and ornaments,
as well as of materials for fuel and illumination,
all detailed in the Mishnah, render it especially im-
portant for the history of civilization.

TheTosefta is divided into eighteen chapters, and
contains many important maxims and sayings be-
sides additions to and amplifications


of the Mishnah. Particularly note-

Tosefta. worthy is its enumeration, in ch. vi.
and vii., of current customs, usages,
and superstitions, some of them being regarded by
the scholars as harmless and permissible, while
others were forbidden as heathenish and pagan.
Certain superstitious views and usages may be men-
tioned here. In beginning an tmdertaking the first
part of the work should be done by some one deft
of touch, as a sign that the completion of the task
will not be arduous (vi. 3). When sparks fly from



Shabbat ha-Gadol

the fire and fall on the ground it is a sign that guests
maj' be expected (vi. 2). If a hen crows like a cock,
she must be stoned (vi. 5). If one turns his shirt
inside out when taking it off, he will dream at night.
If one kisses a coffin containing a corpse, he will see
the dead man in his dreams (vi. 7). If one puts a
lamp or a candle on the ground, it angers the dead
(vi. 2). If two persons walk together and some one
comes between them, the friendship betw-een the pair
will be broken (vii. 12).

The following advice given by R. Eliezer b. R.
Jose ha-Gelili in the Tosefta is also noteworthy : " If
a pious man beginneth a journey which thou also
must make, strive thou to go with him; for good
angels accompany him. But if a blasphemer begin-
neth a journey which thou also must make, go ti)ou
before him or go thou after him, but beware lest
thou be with him ; for Satan and evil angels accom-
pany the blasphemer on his way " (xvii. 2-3).

The Babylonian Gemara to this treatise, besides its
explanations and discussions of the Mishnah, con-
tains a large number of stories, leg-
The ends, and historical accounts, as well

Gemaras. as parables, aphorisms, and other hag-
gadic interpretations and utterances,
of which a few may be cited: It is declared that
the Book of Ezekiel would have been considered apoc-
ryphal because of the many passages in it that con-
tradict the Pentateuch, had not Hananiah ben Heze-
kiah(who outlined the scroll of fasting) taken pains
to elucidate it and by his interpretations and ex-
planations succeeded in i-emoving all the contra-
dictious (13b). In like manner, tiie sages would
have declared the books of Ecclesiastes and Prov-
erbs apocryphal, since eacli of them contains pas-
sages inconsistent with the other; but the)' suc-
ceeded in interpreting those passages in such a
manner as to explain awa\' tlie contradictinns (30b).
In 21b the origin of Hauukkah is described. "When
the Hasmoneans conquered the Syrians and puri-
fied the Temple at Jerusalem, restoring the legal
worship, they found only one small jar of oil sealed
■with the high priest's seal and, therefore, ritually
pure. It was apparently sufficient for
Origin of a single day only ; but by a miracle it
Ha- lasted for eight days, so that the Feast

nukkah. of Hanukkah is celebrated for eight
daj'S. The mildness of Hillel, as con-
trasted with the severity of Shammai, is illustrated by
several examples; and the saying of Hillel, to the
eftect that the entire Law is but a commentary on the
fundamental principle of love to one's fellow men,
is cited (81a). The reprehensibility of indecent con-
versation and the severe punishment of those who
indulge in it are set forth (33a). Tlie story of R.
Simeon b. Yohai, who was forced to flee ou account
of his criticisms of Roman institutions, and who
lived for twelve years in a cave, is given (33b). The
hatred of the Jews felt by other nations is explained
as a religious animosity dating from the time when
the revelation on Sinai gave Israel a faith which
differentiated it from other nations (89b). The leg-
end of the two angels who accompany the Jew
from the synagogue to his home on Friday evening
is related (119b). A few excellent examples are
given to show how men should judge their fellow

creatures with gentleness, even though circum-
stances are apparently against them (127b); also the
parable to illustrate the purity of the soul (152b),
and the simile of the roj-al banquet, showing how
needful it is to be ever ready to appear before God.

In the Yerushalmi the Gemara to ch. xxi.-xxiv.
is no longer extant.

w. B. J. Z. L.

bath ") : The Sabbath preceding Passover. The
designation " great " for this Sabbath is mentioned
by Rashi (lltii cent.), and is due to the great mir-
acle of the Sabbath that preceded the Exodus, as
related in the Midrash. When God ordered the
Israelites to prepare a lamb on the 10th (jf Nisan for
Passover (Ex. xii. 3) they feared the vengeance of
the Egyptians, because the lamb was the Egyptian
deity {ib. viii. 26). According to one version, the
Egyptians fainted when they saw the lamb tied to
the foot of the bed in the houses of the Israelites
(Pesikta Zutarti, Bo, xii. 6 [ed. Buber, p. 29a]);
according to a second, they were paralyzed and
could not prevent the lambs being sacrificed (Ex.
3); and according to yet another, the first-born,
learning on the 10th of Nisan that the lamb and
the first-born, both regarded as deities hy the Egyp-
tians, were to be sacrificed, urged their parents to
let the Israelites go and opposed the Egyptians for
retarding the Exodus (Tos. to Sliab. 87b, s.v. iniXI);
the 10th of Nisan in question was a Sabbath (Seder
'01am R. V. ; Mek. p. 46b; Pesik. R., ed. Fried-
mann, ji. 78a). The author of "Sliibbole ha-Leket"
(13tli cent.) adds the explanation that on this Sab-
bath there is a "long" service in the forenoon, in
which the lecturer explains the laws and regulations
governing the coming Passover. In this sense the
Sabbath preceding the other festivals are likewise
"great." Abudarham gives as another reason that
the first commandment of the Almighty to the
Israelites as a nation was given on the 10th of
Nisan, which on that occasion fell on Sabbath.

Zunz thinks that the designation "great" is of
Christian origin, copied from the Church Fathers,
who called the Saturday before Easter " great," and
that the Greek Jews, wlio probably first adopted this
term, applied it only to the Sabbath falling on the
14th of Nisan and to no other Sabbath preceding
Passover. A plausible explanation of the word is
that by 8. H. Sonnenschein, who bases its use ou tlie
phrase "the great and dreadful day of the Lord"
(Mai. iii. 23 [A. V. iv. 5]), found in the haftarah be-
ginning "We-'arebah" for the Sabbath before Pass-
over. But as the haftarah, according to some au-
thorities, is read only when the Sabbath falls on the
14th of Nisan, it would ajipear that the theory is
correct that originally such Sabbath only was rec-
ognized as "great." One authority thought the
word ^njn ("great") to be a corruption of m':ir\
(" Haggadah "), because the Haggadah is read on the
Sabbath in question.

The service of the " Shaharit " prayer of Shabbat
ha-Gadol includes "yozerot" (see Baer, " 'Abodat
Yisrael," pp. 706-720); and the Haggadah, to the
paragraph beginning "Rabban Gamaliel," is recited
in the afternoon. Shabbat ha-Gadol, together with
Shabbat Shibali, is the principal Sabbath; ou these

Shabbat Goy
Shabbethai b.



Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 11) → online text (page 51 of 160)