Michael Levi Rodkinson.

New edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Original text edited, corrected, formulated, and translated into English (Volume 9) online

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Online LibraryMichael Levi RodkinsonNew edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Original text edited, corrected, formulated, and translated into English (Volume 9) → online text (page 1 of 18)
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tihmxy of Che Cheolo^icd ^tminaxy


John Stuart Connii^, D.D.
an Duu .Kb lyic v.y-iu

New edition of the
Babylonian Talmud




Babylonian Talmud

©rtGinal XTeyt, iBbitcl>, Corrected, fformulatet), anO
UrauslateD into Bugltsb







Revised by the Rev. Mr. Godfrey (Shajah) Taubenhaus
Rabbi Cong. Beth Elohim, Brooklyn

Volume I. (IX.)





In our translation we adopted these principles:

J. Tenan of the original — We have learned in a Mishna; Tbwia— We have
learned in a Boraitha; Itemar — It was taught.

2. Questions are indicated by the interrogation point, and are immediately
followed by the answers, without being so marked.

3. When in the original there occur two statements separated by the phrase,
Lishna achrena or Wa'ibayith Aetna ox Ikha i/'ar^r/ (literally, "otherwise interpreted"),
we translate only the second.

4. As the pages of the original are indicated in our new Hebrew edition, it is not
deemed necessary to mark them in the English edition, this being only a translation
from the latter.

5. Words or passages enclosed in round parentheses ( ) denote the explanation
rendered by Rashi to the foregoing sentence or word. Square parentheses [ ] contaia
commentaries by authorities of the last period of construction of the Geraara.



Copyright 1916, by






New York, Purim, 5660
March 15th, 1900


With the present volume we begin the Section *' Damages,"
also called " Jurisprudence," from the occurrence of discussions
on criminal law. This section forms the fourth in the old edi-
tion, and comprises the following treatises: " First Gate,"" Mid-
dle Gate," " Last Gate," " Sanhedrin," " Stripes," " Oaths,"
" Testimonies," " Idolatry," " Fathers" (or " Ethics of the
Fathers of the Synagogue "), and " Decisions."

Notwithstanding the fact that in the old edition of the Tal-
mud ** Fathers " stands next to the last tract, we have placed it
at the head of the section, relying upon the decision of Sherira
Gaon in his letter (Goldberg edition, Mayence, 1872, p. 14) de-
claring that it is perfectly permissible to change the order of
sequence of tracts in the several sections. Therefore, because
the treatise entitled ** Fathers " deals entirely with the ethics of
life, we have deemed it best to give it precedence over the other
treatises. Just as in the Pentateuch we find the ten command-
ments — the basis of all ethical religion — heading the subsequent
detailed laws and ordinances, so it seems but fit that the Section
" Damages" should be headed by the tract setting forth the
main ethical principles, and be continued by the detailed discus-
sions. We are further borne out by the Talmud itself, which
reads (First Gate, Chap. III., Mishna 3): " One who wishes to
be pious should observe the laws of damages. Rabhina said :
* He should observe the teachings of the Fathers.' " Rabhina's
statement should, in our opinion, not be taken literally, but as
indicative of the opinion that the decisions contained both in
" Fathers " and in " Damages " generally are equivalent.

** Fathers " is one of the few treatises which consists of Mishna
only; i.e., has no supplementary Gemara either in the Babylo-
nian or the Palestinian Talmud, although interspersed through-
out the contents of the entire Talmud may be found amplifica-
tions or comments on some of the sentences of the " Fathers."
There is, however, a Tosephtha entitled " Fathers of Rabbi


Nathan" which discusses most sentences of the original " Fa-
thers'* separately; in fact, begins the discussion of each sen-
tence with the interrogation " How so ? " Forming, therefore, a
valuable addition to the much-valued literature of the ' ' Fathers,
we have considered it our duty to incorporate it in our edition,
and we have therefore inserted the said Tosephtha in the place
where, in other tracts, we have placed the Gemara.

Owing to the fact that the Tosephtha named above bears the
name of Rabbi Nathan of Babylon, one of the most distinguished
masters of his generation, but at the same time contains ethics
similar to those of the Mishna, as well as lectures and discus-
sions which could not have been compiled by that author and
are evidently contributions from scholars of a later period, the
historians of modern times, from Zunz in his" Gottesdienstliche
Vortraege " to Brill in his " Jahrbuecher " and Weiss in his
" Dor Dor Vedorshov," engage in elaborate speculation as to
who was the compiler of the " Fathers of R. Nathan " and at
what time it was compiled. The complicated nature of the
Tosephtha in question brought to the front a number of com-
mentators and text-revisers, and finally Solomon Tausik and
Solomon Shechter made a search of manuscripts, and published
new editions of the Tosephtha, with additions from the material
found in the manuscripts. The latter, in fact, searched so thor-
oughly that he found an entirely different version of the Toseph-
tha, and then published in his edition two separate texts, calling
them First Text and Second Text, respectively, with his own
corrections, notes, and a long introduction (Vienna, 1887).

True to our methods of translating the Talmud, we have,
however, ignored the new versions of" Fathers of Rabbi Na-
than," and have merely adapted the old version which forms
part of the Talmud, simply adhering to the corrections made by
Elias Wilner and the commentaries of Joshua Falk and others
contained in the great Wilna (1890) edition of the Talmud.
Further, in accordance with our wont we have omitted such of
the passages as have already appeared in the preceding tracts of
our edition, merely indicating the places where they can be
found. Wherever necessary, of course, we have added foot-
notes, remarks, etc.

Our reasons for not making use of the new versions of the
Tosephtha in question are as follows :

In a previous article touching upon the subject, which ap-
peared in our publication " Hakol," we have pointed out that


we cannot give preference to recently discovered manuscripts
over those used by the compilers of the Talmud, and for a rea-
son that is perfectly obvious, viz. : If those manuscripts were in
existence during the construction period of the Talmud, the
compilers, who sifted every manuscript with the utmost care,
undoubtedly rejected them as valueless. If, on the other hand,
they were at that time not in existence, but were written at a
later period, they certainly cannot be used as a medium for cor-
recting the antedating manuscripts.

As for Schechter's revised and corrected texts, we cannot
accept them for the reason that he presumes to remark, anent
Elias Wilner*s corrections, " I do not favor them," or, " They
are unnecessary.** After careful investigation we have, however,
found that almost all the corrections made by Elias Wilner, and
adopted by us, are founded directly on Talmudical and Midrashic
passages scattered throughout the Talmud, a fact the learned
Dr. Schechter no doubt overlooked.

On the other hand, we find that the commentaries published
in the above-mentioned Wilna edition and credited to Joshua
Falk, Chayim Joseph David Azulayi, and Baruch Frankel Theo-
mim are referred directly to passages of the Talmud in the
several treatises. Therefore we have used these well-known
authorities in our translation, eliminating merely their lengthy
discussions and adductions of proof.

As to the origin of the sayings of the ** Fathers of Rabbi
Nathan," the period during which they were compiled, and
other historical events attending their conception, we refrain
from rendering our opinion, even though it has become cus-
tomary to do this in an introduction, leaving these matters to
the philologists and historians in whose province such discussions
properly fall. Our sole reason for the translation is that the said
sayings have never before been rendered into any modern lan-
guage and without them our work would not be complete.

The " Fathers of Rabbi Nathan " contains in the original
forty-one chapters. As we render them, however, in the form
of a Gemara to the Mishna of ** Fathers," we have not numbered
the chapters, but merely indicated at the foot of the page to
which chapter each paragraph belongs.

Regarding the translation of ** Fathers," i.e., the original
Mishna in the first five chapters, we have found that the trans-
lation of C. Taylor (Cambridge, 1877) is entirely too literal and
almost incomprehensible without foot-notes and commentaries.


On the other hand, the partial translation contained in the Home
Prayer Book, compiled in the main by Dr. G. Gottheil and Dr.
F. De Sola Mendes, is lucid and in accord with the original
text. We have therefore made use of the latter rendition, with
slight changes. The part remaining untranslated in the Prayer
Book we have adapted from C. Taylor's version, rendering it
somewhat more comprehensively. In the rendition of the
sixth chapter, which does not really form part of the Mishna
but is added by the sages in Mishnaic language, we have fol-
lowed Taylor, making numerous notes and corrections, in order
to make it intelligible to the lay reader.

We have not deemed it necessary to add a commentary to
the " Fathers*' as we did to Tracts Shekalim and Ebel Rab-
bathi, because the " Fathers " has been translated into all mod-
ern languages and because there is already considerable literature
concerning the ethics of Judaism, especially the recent publica-
tion by Prof. Dr. M. Lazarus entitled " Ethik des Judenthums,"
an admirable work, issued at Leipzig (1899), and giving a mas-
terly exposition of the philosophical tendencies of '* Fathers."
We have also devoted a special chapter to this subject in our
forthcoming " History of the Talmud."

We have also thought it well to give in this volume, which
treats exclusively of the ethics of Judaism, the two Tracts
Derech Eretz (Rabba and Zuta), which contain the essential
" rules of conduct of life," as construed by Dr. Mielziner, or
Worldly Affairs, as named by us, which latter is the prevailing
interpretation among Hebrew readers.

As to the origin of these two tracts, elaborate discussions
maybe found in Zunz, " Gottesdienstliche Vortraege, " pp. 1 10-
112, as well as in ** Der Talmud — Tract Derech Erez Sutta Kri-
tisch bearbeitet, iibersetzt und erlautert " (Berlin, 1885), by Abr.
Tawrogi. For Tawrogi's reasons for not translating Derech
Eretz Rabba, see his work; nevertheless, inasmuch as Derech
Eretz Rabba has never been translated into any language, and
of Derech Eretz Zuta, while there is a critical translation into
German, there is none in English, in order to make this volume,
which treats of the ethics of Judaism, complete, we have con-
sidered it expedient to translate into English both tracts almost
literally, although they are not counted among the thirty-seven
treatises proper of the Babylonian Talmud, but only among the
minor treatises added to them. We do not, however, deem it
necessary to add any commentary, for the reason that the say-


ings are very plain and lucid, and can easily be understood even
by those who are not students of the Talmud.

Because of the similarity in language and style of these two
treatises and of the so-called Mishnayoth of the sixth chapter of
Aboth, they appear in the same large type as the Mishnayoth.
Following this treatise will be published the other tracts of this
section in the regular sequence of the old edition.

The Editor and Translator.

New York, March, 1900.




[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.

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
up)on 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 — in this volume, the Tosephtha ; but when several
short Mishnas cover the same subject, a single synopsis is given of the whole, includ-
ing the Gemara of each one ; and where a chapter is short, 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 satis-


Mishna A. The Great Assembly originated three maxims. Be deliber-
ate in judgment. How so ? The books of Proverbs, Song of Songs, and
Ecclesiastes were hidden. How was Adam created ? Why was Adam
created on the last hour of the sixth day ? On the same day on which he
was formed, on the very same day his countenance was created. Accord-
ing to others: " Be deliberate in judgment" means not to have an irascible
manner. Erect safeguards for the Law. The safeguard of the Lord, of
Adam the First. The legend about Eve and the serpent, etc. The ten
curses with which Eve was cursed at that time. " Shall I and my cattle eat
out of the same trough ?" The tradition about the ox of Adam, the steer
of Noah, and the ram sacrificed by Abraham, .... i-ii


Continuation of Chapter II. of Tosephtha.— What is the safeguard
that the Torah made to its words ? What Elijah the prophet answered the
widow of the scholar who died in the prime of his life. What is the safe-
guard that Moses made to his words ? The reason why Moses broke the
Tables ? What is the safeguard that Job made to his words ? The safe-
guard that the prophets made to their words. The safeguard that the Hagiog-
raphers made to their words. The safeguard that the sages made to their
words, 11-19

Continuation of Chapter III. of Tosephtha.— Whoever takes a
coin from charity when not in need of it, etc. Study the Law in thy old age,
even if thou hast studied it in thy youth. If you gave a coin to a poor man
in the morning, and another one begs of you in the evening, give him also.
What happened to a poor man with R. Aqiba. What happened to Benja-
min the Just, 19-21

MiSHNA B. The motto of Simeon the Just. Upon the Torah, how so ?
Upon service, how so ? Upon bestowal of favors, how so ? Rabban Jo-
hanan b. Zakkai and Vespasian. In three things mankind differ one from
the other, 22-26

MiSHNAS C AND D. Be not like slaves who serve their masters for the
sake of compensation. Let the fear of Heaven be upon you. Let your house
be the meeting place of the wise. How did R. Aqiba begin his wonderful
career ? Not less astonishing was the literary career of R. Eliezer. How
his father Hyrkanus reached the seats of Ben Zizith Ha Kesseth, Nakdimon
b. Gurion, and Calba Shebua, 26-32

MiSHNAS E AND F. Let thy house be wide open for the poor. When the
great affliction came upon Job, he prayed, etc. Teach thy house humility —
the different explanations of this saying. Get thee a wise teacher. Judge
everyone from his favorable side. The legend about a maiden who was led
into captivity and the pious men who went to redeem her. Not only were
the upright of former times themselves very strict and particular, but also
their cattle were so. The ass of R. Hanina b. Dosa, . . . 32-38

MiSHNA G. Keep aloof from a wicked neighbor. Slanderers are pun-
ished with plagues. The legend about Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Do not
consider thyself exempt from God's chastisement, .... 38-41

MiSHNAS //TO K Make thyself not as those that predispose the Judges.
Love work — how so ? Do not care for superiority. See to it that your name
be not known to the Government. Ye wise, be guarded in your words.
Love peace — how so ? Moses desired to die the same death Aaron did —
how so ? The legend of the death of Moses, at length. Pursue peace — how
so ? Love all men too, and bring them nigh unto the Law, . . 41-50

MiSHNAS L TO Q. If I do not look to myself, who will do so ? And if
not now, when ? He who does not desire to learn from his masters is not
worthy to live. He who increases not, decreases — how so ? He who serves
himself with a tiara perishes. Fix a time for study. Promise little and do
much. Receive everyone with friendly countenance. Make a master to
thyself. " I have never found anything better for a man than silence."
Three things support the world. The disciples of Hillel ; of R. Johanan b.
Zakkai— what was said about them and what they used to say. The con-
solation of R. Johanan b. Zakkai by his disciples when his son died. Thy


fellow's honor must be as dear to thee as thine own. Do not allow thyself
to be easily angered. The two proselytes that came before Hillel and
Shammai. Repent one day before thy death, .... 50-58


MiSHNAS A TO AT. In choosing tlie right path, see that it is one which
is honorable to thyself and without offence to others. All who occupy them-
selves with communal affairs should do it in the name of Heaven. Do His
will as if it were thy own, that He may do thy wil is if it were His. Pass
not judgment upon thy neighbor until thou hast put thyself in his place.
The boor can never fear sin, and the ignorant can never be truly pious.
The more feasting the more food for worms. What is the best thing to cul-
tivate. Which is the evil way a man should shun. Warm thyself before
the light of the wise. An envious eye, evil propensities, and misanthropy
drive a man out of the world. The legend about Joseph the Just, R. Zadoq,
R. Aqiba, R. Eliezer the Great, etc. How difficult it is for man to avoid the
evil propensities. Love everyone except the infidels, the enticers, the mis-
leaders, and the informers. Thy neighbor's property must be as sacred as
thine own, 58-65

MiSHNA N. Set thyself to learn the Law. Johanan b. Zakkai and the
daughter of Nakdimon b. Gurion. Let noble purpose underlie thy every
action. The sages who were recounted of R. Jehudah the Prince. How
they were named by Issi b. Jehudah, 65-70


MiSHNAS A TO V. Consider three things, and you will not fall into
transgression. Pray always for the welfare of the Government. Whoever
takes the words of the Torah to his heart. Render unto God what belongs
to Him, for thou and all thou hast are His. Whomsoever fear of sin pre-
cedes, his wisdom prevails. He whose works are in excess of his wisdom,
his wisdom will endure. Be pliant with thy chief. Receive every man with
cheerfulness. Mockery and frivolity are the forerunners of immorality.
Everything is foreseen and free will is given. The world is judged by grace.
All that we possess is merely a trust. Without knowledge of religion there
can be no true culture, and without true culture there is no knowledge of
religion. Qinim, canons, astronomy, and geometry are after-courses of wis-
dom, 70-81


MiSHNAS A TO P. Who is a wise man ? He who learns from every-
body. Despise no man, and consider nothing as too far removed to come to
pass. Be exceedingly lowly of spirit. Wear not the law of God as a crown
to exalt thyself withal. Judge not alone, for none may judge alone save One.
Whatsoever congregation is for the sake of Heaven will in the end succeed.
Let the honor of thy disciple be as dear unto thee as the honor of thine asso-


ciatc Be careful in thy study, for error in study counts for an intentional
sin, 81-86

MISHNA Q. Neither the security of the wicked nor the afflictions of the
righteous are within the grasp of our understanding. Be beforehand in
saluting every man. Be the lion's tail rather than the fox's head. Do not
seek to appease thy friend in the hour of his passion. Look not upon the
pitcher, but upon what it contains. Envy, sensuality, and ambition destroy
life. Accept not the assurance of thy passions, that the grave will be a
place of refuge for thee. Without thy consent wert thou created, born into
the world without thy choice. Thou art living without thine own volition,
without thine approval thou wilt have to die. About the death of Eliezer
the Great. Set something apart for charity, before you are compelled to do
so by others. Lower thy seat two or three rows from the place you intend
to occupy. There are three persons whose life is not worth living. The
safeguard for honor is refraining from laughter. The safeguard for wisdom
is silence. Whoever marries a woman not suitable to him transgresses five
negative commandments. Do not be as the lintel, which no hand can reach,
etc., 86-95

MiSHNA Q. (continued). Those that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
The support of the wise, etc. Do not keep away from a precept which has
no limit. Let the honor of thy disciple, etc. There is grain in Judea, straw
in Galilee, and chaff on the other side of the Jordan. There is no love such
as the love of the Torah. There is no wisdom such as the wisdom of man-
ners. Whoever maintains peace in his own household, etc. The words of
the Torah are as difficult to acquire as silken garments and are lost as
easily as, etc. All those things which are done in private shall be done as
if they were done publicly. Do not isolate thyself from the community.
The disciples are divided into three classes, etc. Whoever constitutes the
Torah as the chief good, and considers worldly affairs as a secondary thing,
etc. Conciliate not thy friend in the hour of his anger. The scholars are
divided into four classes : One studies but does not teach others, etc. If
one honor his friend for pecuniary considerations, he will in the end be dis-
missed in disgrace, etc. On account of the four different means of forgive-
ness, etc. Repentance must be to every one of them. However, one who
has profaned the name of heaven has not the power to repent. Wherefore
do scholars die before their time. Be careful in greeting thy neighbors.
He who neglects the words of the Law on account of his riches. There is a
case where one transgresses ignorantly, etc. One who connects himself
with transgressors, etc. The punishment of the liar is that even when he
teils the truth he is not believed, 95-io3


MiSHNAS A TO G. By ten sayings the world was created. For what
purpose is this stated ? Whence is it deduced that a single person is equal
to the whole creation ? The Holy One, blessed be He, showed unto Adam
all succeeding generations, together with their preachers, directors, leaders,
prophets, heroes, criminals, and their pious. Nine hundred and seventy-


four generations before the creation of the world, the Torah was already
written, etc. He created in man all that he created in his world — how so ?
Ten generations were there from Adam to Noah. For what purpose was
this stated ? The Lord said : I will not equal the evil thoughts to the good
thoughts so long as their fate has not yet been sealed. Ten generations
were there from Noah to Abraham. For what purpose was it necessary to
state this ? With ten temptations was Abraham our father tempted. They
are as follows, etc. In contrast with these ten temptations the Lord performed
ten miracles for his descendants in Egypt. When our fathers stood by the
sea, etc. "Arise, and pass through it," etc. With ten temptations did our
ancestors tempt God in the wilderness. By means of ten trials the Holy

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Online LibraryMichael Levi RodkinsonNew edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Original text edited, corrected, formulated, and translated into English (Volume 9) → online text (page 1 of 18)