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Michael Levi Rodkinson.

New edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Original text edited, corrected, formulated, and translated into English (Volume 8) online

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20]. On the Day of Atonement we read [Lev. xvi.], " After the
death," and from the Prophets [Is. lvii. 15], " For thus hath said
the High," etc. And in the Min'ha prayer, we read about
the laws of legal marriage [Lev. xviii.], and from the Prophets,
Jonah.

[R. Johanan said : In nearly every place where you find the
might of the Holy One, blessed be He, you find also His mod-
esty. This is written in the Pentateuch, and repeated in the
Prophets, and mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa. In
the Pentateuch [Deut. x. 17]: " For the Lord your God is the
God of gods, and the Lord of lords"; and the next verse,

' Who executeth justice for the fatherless and the widow." It
is repeated in the Prophets [Is. lvii. 15]: " Thus hath said the
High and Lofty One, who inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is
Holy " ; and the end of this verse is " yet also with the contrite
and humble in spirit." The third time in Hagiographa [Ps.
lxviii. 5] : " Extol him who rideth upon the heavens." " The



TRACT MEGILLA. 87

Everlasting is his name," and the next verse is " A father of
the fatherless, and the judge of the widows."]

The first festival day of the Feast of Tabernacles should be
read the portion about this feast in Leviticus; and from the
Prophets [Zechariah, xiv. 1]: "Behold, a day is coming unto
the Lord." Now when we keep two days, we read on the sec-
ond the same as on the first, but from the Prophets [I Kings,
viii. 2]: " And all the men of Israel assembled." And on the
remaining days of the festival we read about the sacrifices of the
festival, and on the last day we read " All your first-born," to
the end of the chapter, and from the Prophets [ibid. iv. 1] :
"And it came to pass when Solomon had finished"; and on
the morrow, "And this is the blessing" [Deut. xxxiii.], and
from the Prophets [I Kings, viii. 22]: " And Solomon stood."

R. Huna said in the name of Rabh: On the Sabbath in the
intermediate days of the festivals, whether Passover or that
of Tabernacles, should be read Ex. xxxiii. 12; and from the
Prophets [Ezek. xxxvii.], about the dry bones, and on Feast of
Tabernacles [Ezek. xxxviii.], about Gog and Magog. During
Hanuka the portion in Num. vii. about the offerings of the
princes, and from Prophets [Zechariah, Hi.], about the candle-
sticks. And when it happens there are two Sabbaths in the
eight days of Hanuka, on the first Sabbath the candlesticks of
Zechariah, on the last Sabbath from I Kings, vii. 49, about the
candlesticks of Solomon. On Purim [Ex. xvii.], " And Amalek
came," and "On the beginnings of your months " [Num. xxviii.].
And if the first of the month falls on Sabbath, it should be read
from Isaiah, lxvi. 23 : " And it shall come to pass that from one
new moon to the other." And when the first of the month falls
on Sunday, the preceding Sabbath it should be read from the
Prophets [I Sam. xx. 5]: "And Jonathan said unto David,
to-morrow is the new moon."

R. Huna said: If the first of the month Ab falls on Sabbath,
it should be read from the Prophets in Is. i. 14: "Your new
moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth." On the
ninth of Ab itself ? What portion do we read from the Proph-
ets ? Said Rabh: Is. i. 21 : " How became a whore the faithful
city?" Said Abayi: And now people have the usage to read
from the Pentateuch [Deut. iv. 24]: " When thou begettest chil-
dren " ; and from the Prophets in Jerem. viii. 13: "I will make
an end of them."

" On the fast of the standing men" Whence do we deduce



S& THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

this ? (Rashi explains it that the question is what connection
there is between the creation and these fasts.) Said R. Ami :
If not the standing men, the heaven and earth would not abide;
as is written [Jerem. xxxiii. 25]: " If my covenant be not with
day and night, I would not appoint the ordinances of heaven
and earth." And it is also written [Gen. xvi. 8]: "And he
said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it ?"
Said Abraham before the Holy One, blessed be He: Creator of
the Universe, perhaps if Israel will sin before Thee, Thou wilt
destroy them as the generation at the time of the Flood and of
the Dispersion of Babel. And He answered : Nay. Said Abra-
ham : Whereby will I know it ? And the Lord said: Take Me
a heifer three years old (i.e., the sacrifices will forgive their sins).
Then Abraham said again : Creator of the Universe, this will be
as long as the Temple exists, but what will be when the Temple
will be destroyed ? And the Lord answered: I have therefore
ordained to them the order of the sacrifices, and every time they
will read it, it will be considered by Me as if they had offered
them, and I will forgive them all their sins.

Without interruption" Whence do we deduce this ? Said
R. Hyya bar Gamda in the name of R. Asi: Because it is writ-
ten [Prov. iii. 11]: "The correction of the Lord, my son, do
not despise." (And if there were interruption, it would seem as
if the correction were disagreeable to them.) Resh Lakish, how-
ever, said : That is because we do not pronounce a benediction
over chastisement. What else shall he do ? We have learned in a
Boraitha: He should begin a verse before the curses, and should
end a verse after them. We have learned in a Boraitha: R.
Simeon b. Elazar said: Ezra ordained that Israel should read
the curses in Leviticus before Pentecost, and those in Deuter-
onomy before New Year. Why so ? Said Abayi, and accord-
ing to others Resh Lakish : That the curses should end with the
year. It is right of Deuteronomy, because then begins a new
year; but in Leviticus, before Pentecost, does Pentecost begin
a new year ? Yea, Pentecost is also a New Year's day, as we
have learned in Tract Rosh Hashana, on Pentecost is decided in
Heaven about the fruit of the year.

The rabbis taught : From the same place where they stop to
read in the Pentateuch on Sabbath in the morning, they begin
to read in the Min'ha prayer; and from the same place they
should begin on Mondays and Thursdays and the next Sabbath.
So is the decree of R. Meir, But R. Jehudah said: From the



TRACT MEGILLA. S 9

same place where they had stopped the last Sabbath, they
should begin at the Min'ha prayer, and Mondays and Thurs-
days, and also the next Sabbath. Said R. Zera the Halakha
prevails so. The rabbis taught : One shall open the Holy Scrolls
and look on them, then pronounce the benediction, then read.
R. Shephatia said in the name of R. Johanan : He who rolls
together the Holy Scrolls, shall do it so that the sewn rolls
should be in the middle, so that it be done easily. The same
said again in the name of the same authority: They may be
rolled together only from outside, but not from inside, so that
the letters should not be seen outside. When one holds scrolls
himself, and has to find in it something, he should not begin to
roll away from his person, because one scroll might fall down,
but he should roll them toward his person, so that they should
remain on his knees. When he rolls them from both sides, he
should begin with the side toward his person, because if from
the other side, a man will be unable to see at a distance what is
written in them, and it is a duty to let him see.

The same says again : If ten men have read in the scrolls,
the greatest of them should roll them together, for R. Joshuah
b. Levi said : He who rolls them together, is rewarded as much
as all of them together.

He says again : Whence do we know that we may avail our-
selves of a Heavenly voice ? Because it is written [Is. xxx.] :
" Thine ears shall hear a thing from behind them." When is
this the case ? When one hears a male voice in town, and a
female voice in the country, and when it says: " Yea, yea," or
" Nay, nay." The same says again in the name of the same
authority: Who reads without sweetness, and learns without a
chant, of him says the verse in Ezekiel [xx. 25]: " And I also
have given unto them laws that are not good." Abayi opposed.
Shall I say, because he cannot make sweet his voice, the above
verse should be applied to him ? Therefore we must say as R.
Mesharshia said elsewhere, that if two scholars are in one town,
that contradict themselves in Halakha, to them is the above
verse applied.

Said R. Pornach in the name of R. Johanan : Who handled
the Holy Scrolls, while naked, * will be buried naked. Said R.

* According to Rashi, it applies to the scrolls ; Mordchai Plungian, however, in
his "Alphai Menashe," interprets it in the name of Menashe of Ila that it applies
to the man, which seems to be more correct, though he was persecuted for this
interpretation.



9° THE BAEYLONIAN TALMUD.

Janai the son of R. Janai the Elder: It is better that the mantle
of the Holy Scrolls should be inserted between the scrolls than
vice versa. It is written [Lev. xxiii. 44] : ' ' And Moses spoke of
the festivals of the Lord to the children of Israel " ; i.e., he told
them the merit of reading the portions of the Torah each in its
time. The rabbis taught: Moses ordered to Israel they shall
discuss and lecture on the subject of the day: the Halakhas of
Passover on Passover, the Halakhas of Pentecost on Pentecost,
and the Halakhas of Tabernacles on the Feast of Tabernacles.



END OF TRACT MEGILLA.



TRACT EBEL RABBATHI (GREAT MOURNING),
OR SEMA'HOTH (JOYS).



CONTENTS.



Synopsis of Subjects of Vol. VIII. — Ebel Rabbathi,

CHAPTER

I. Ordinances regarding one in the Struggle of
Death, and when Death Occurs in a Vil-
lage,

II. What is Considered Suicide,

III. Ordinances concerning the Burial of Infants

and Minors up to the Age of Seven Years, .

IV. Mourning over Relatives of the First and Sec-

ond Degrees,

V. Regulation regarding Labor during Mourning,

VI. What a Mourner may and may not Read, .

VII. The Thirty Days' Period of Mourning,

VIII. The Examination of the Corpse ; the Burial of
a Bridal Couple ; the Sages that were Exe-
cuted by the Government,

IX. The Rending of Garments over Relatives, Par
ents, and Scholars, .....

X. What an Onen may and may not Read,

XI. When Several Deaths Occur in a Town at the
Same Time who must be Buried First,

XII. From what Day the Seven, Thirty Days' Mourn
ing, etc., begin to Count, ....

XIII. The Removal from one Grave to another,

XIV. What may and what may not be Done in j

Cemetery and about the Graves of Fami
lies,



PAGE

iii



12
18
23

27

30

36

45

48

5i

57

58



SYNOPSIS OF SUBJECTS



OF



VOLUME VIII— EBEL RABBATHI.



Chapters I. to III. One who is in agony of death is regarded as alive
In all respects. How so? May the inhabitants of a village greet each
other if a death occurs in their community ? How shall a suicide be buried,
and who is considered such ? Suicide of a minor. The burial of one judi-
cially executed. That of one separating himself from the congregation,
and of those stealing the duties. At what age are poor children to be
lamented, and at what age rich ones ? The funeral meal. At what age is
death considered Kareth (short life)? The days of sickness. The legend
about the conversation of the Angel of Death with many of the Amo-
raim, I_I1

Chapters IV. and V. Who are considered relatives of the first and
second degrees ? The regulations of an Onen (a mourner before the burial
of the dead), and the period of Aninuth (see Commentary, p. 13). Over
what relatives priests and high-priests may defile themselves. The decision
of the sages as to the exhumation of a body for the purpose of examination
as to age, and the reasons therefor. For what purposes the high-priest may
or may not leave Palestine. Who is considered a Meth-Mitzvah (see Com-
mentary, p. 17), and what shall be done with him, and how a Meth-Mitzvah
was the incident which caused R. Aqiba to be counted among the wise.
What work may and what may not be done by a mourner. What must be
observed during the seven, the thirty days, and during the whole year of
mourning. The exact periods for weeping, lamenting, not to calender
clothes, and not to cut the hair, which must not be exceeded. Whence is it
deduced that mourning lasts for seven days ? When one mourning suc-
ceeds another. The regulations concerning the ban and for how many days
it shall continue, ......... 12-23

Chapters VI. and VII. What a mourner may read, what clothes he
may wash, and if he may or may not wear shoes. When he may leave his
house, and what seat he may occupy when in the prayer-house. What was
done with mourners and others having trouble when entering the Temple.
Ordinances in detail relating to calendering clothes, cutting the hair, etc.,
etc., etc., during the thirty days. What happened to Mar Samuel with his
brother Pin'has during their mourning. The period after which it is allowed
to remarry after the death of one's wife, , , . , » 2 3~3°



iv SYNOPSIS OF SUBJECTS.

Chapters VIII. and IX. The different opinions about the canopy that
is to be made for a dead bridal couple, and what eatables may be destroyed
in their honor. The execution of Simeon, Ishmael, Aqiba, etc., and the
lamentation over them by the sages, in detail. The a fortiori conclusion,
drawn from many biblical passages, how a man must avoid to come in con-
tact with evil subjects. About what dead relatives must one rend his
garments, and the rending of garments over scholars, chiefs of a college, etc.
When the rent may be mended. The size of the rent. If a mourner travels
from one place to another. The obligation of lowering the couches and
when they may be placed in proper condition. The saving of the garment
which was upon the dead, ........ 30-4 5

Chapters X. to XII. From the performance of what religious duties a
mourner is exempt. The funeral meal. The standing in line of the consol-
ers. What may and what may not be discussed in the presence of a dead
body. The burial of rich and poor people and that of scholars, and what
happened to Aqiba when his son died. The difference in the burial and
lamentation of a man and a woman. The preference of way of a bridal
procession over that of a funeral, and what happened to King Agrippa. The
sweeping and the besprinkling of a mourner's house. A recent and remote
information. The different societies that were in Jerusalem for attending
weddings or funerals, etc. The four sages that came to console R. Ishmael
when his sons died, and what they said. When the consolers are permitted
to speak consolation. About the burial of the bones of two dead bodies in
one grave. The saying of R. Eliezer b. Zadok as to what his father com-
manded him in regard to his burial, and what Abba Saul said in his will to
his son. When a hearse is used. What Hanina b. Teradion did when his
son was executed as a robber, 45-57

Chapters XIII. and XIV. From what religious duties a gatherer of
bones is exempt. The places in which bones and the Scriptures must be
placed when being removed. When is it allowed to remove a corpse from
one grave to another ? If it is allowed to bury two corpses, or one corpse and
bones of another corpse, in one grave. If benefit may be derived from a
building over a vacant grave or from a vacant coffin. How a cemetery must
not be considered vilely. If graves may be changed from one family to
another. Is occupancy {Hazakah) considered with graves ? The three
different kinds of graves. A cemetery which surrounds the city on three
sides. The seven standings and sittings after the burial. The ten goblets
of wine that the sages have ordered in the house of a mourner. What shall
be said in the fourth meal benediction in the house of a mourner ? 57-62



EBEL RABBATHI (GREAT MOURN
ING), OR SEMA'HOTH (JOYS).



CHAPTER I. 1



A. One in the struggle of death is to be regarded as living
in all respects. He still binds the dependents to the law of
Yibum, 2 and he exempts from the same. 3 He makes his de-
pendents eat of heave-offerings, 4 and prevents them from eating
it. 5 He inherits and makes others inherit. 6 When a limb or a
piece of flesh is removed from him, it is regarded as of a living
man. 7 The blood of his sin-offering and transgression may be
sprinkled until he dies. 8

EDITOR'S COMMENTARY.

CHAPTER I.

1 As the chapters are short, their contents will be found in the Synopsis.
A. s If he is the only brother of him who died childless, the
widow cannot marry again until he dies. And if it happened that
she did marry in that time, the marriage is considered null and void.
8 If he is the only son of his father who died at that time, he is con-
sidered as a living child, and to exempt the widow from Yibum or
Halitzah. 4 His wife or slave if he is a priest, also his mother if she
was the daughter of a commoner. 8 If his wife was the daughter of
a priest, and he a commoner [Lev. xxii. 12-14]. * For instance, if
his mother dies at that time and leaves property to him, it is con-
sidered his; so that when he dies his relatives on his mother's side
inherit from him, but not those on his father's. See Nidah, 440.
7 It is not a subject of defilement, to make him who touches it or
the tent which contains it unclean, if it has not a certain quantity,
as will be explained farther on. 'The blood of an offering can be
sprinkled only when the offerer is alive, and has a substitute in the
Temple.



2 THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

B. His mouth must not be closed, nor his openings stopped.
No metal vessel or anything which chills 1 must be put on his
navel till he dies, as it is written [Eccl. xii. 6]: " While the
silver cord is not yet torn loose."

C. He must not be moved, nor put on sand or salt, until he
dies. 1

D. His eyes must not be closed. Whoever touches or moves
him is regarded as a shedder of blood. 1

E. His relatives may not rend their clothes nor remove their
shoes nor lament over him, nor may the coffin be brought into
his room, till he dies.

F. His death must not be announced, nor his deeds pro-
claimed, until he dies; R. Jehudah, however, said: If he was a
wise man, the latter may be done. 1

G. Greetings must not be exchanged when there is a death
in a village, but it may be done in a greater city. An infant cut
or torn at birth, a miscarriage, or born alive at the eighth month,
or born dead at the ninth — all the religious ceremonies do not
apply to it.

H. The same is the case with an idolater or bondsman, never-
theless they may exclaim over him: " Woe, lion! lion! Woe,
hero! " 1 R. Jehudah said: (It may be said also:) Woe, trusted
man, who lived by his labor! They said to him: If so, what is
there left to say of the upright ? He rejoined: If he was right-
eous why should this not be said of him ? 2 No consolation is
needed (on the death of) male and female slaves.

/. It happened when the female slave of R. Eliezer died, his
disciples went to console him. When he saw them he went into

B. ' See Sabbath, p. 353.

C. ' As was the custom at that time.

D. J For the reason, see ibid., Mishna and Gemara thereon;
here, however, this is said in the name of R. Meir.

F. 1 Not in his presence, but people may say among themselves:
11 What a great loss we have in the death of the man who did so and
so." Some say even in his presence, because he is used to hear his
praises, and will not be alarmed; but we do not find any basis for
this assertion.

H. ' If they were worthy of such a lamentation. s It seems to
us that this is said of a bondman only, but not of an idolater, as an
idolater, even if he was a Gentile, is called a sinner according to the
Talmud, which declares that idolatry was prohibited to Noah for all
nations.



EBEL RABBATHI, OR SEMA'HOTH. 3

the yard, and they followed him ; he returned to the house, and
they followed him. He then said to them : I thought that you
might be scalded with lukewarm water, now I see that you can-
not be scalded even with boiling. Have I not taught unto you :
No consolation is needed (on the death of) slaves ?

y. When Tebbi the slave of Rabban Gamaliel died, the latter
accepted consolation. Said his disciples to him: Our master!
hast thou not taught unto us that no consolation is needed on
slaves ? He rejoined : My slave Tebbi cannot be likened to
other slaves ; he was a righteous one.

K. He also permitted him to lay Tephilin. Said his dis-
ciples: Our master! hast thou not taught unto us that slaves
are exempt from Tephilin ? And he made the same rejoinder.

L. Slaves must not be distinguished as Father so and so, or
Mother so and so.. 1 The household of Rabban Gamaliel, how-
ever, used the distinction of " Father Tebbi" and " Mother
Tebbitha " to the above-named and his wife. 2

M. Ancestors must not be distinguished as the fathers of the
nation (or the tribes), except the three Patriarchs; nor mothers
of the nation, but the four mothers. 1



CHAPTER II.

A. A suicide must be buried without any ceremony. R.
Ishmael said: It may be exclaimed: Alas, suicide! Alas,
suicide! Said R. Aqiba to him: Leave him alone. Do not
honor nor abuse him. 1 No rending, no removal of shoes, and
no lamenting. They may, however, stand in line, 2 and say over

L. J The word Abba, which means " Father," was a title at that
time, as " Reverend " is now, or as the Catholics entitle their supe-
riors of the Church and nunneries " Father" and " Mother." 3 In
Midrash Rabbah [Lev. chap, xix.] is to be found Tebbitha, the
female slave of Rabban Gamaliel, presumably Tebbi's wife.

M. ' Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel, and Leah, the wives of our patri-
archs. See Berachoth.

CHAPTER II.

A. ' With the saying that you lament him, you also blame him
that he committed suicide. It is, therefore, better that nothing
should be said. 3 When the mourners return from the burial, all
those who accompanied them stand in two rows, through which the



4 THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD.

him the mourners' benedictions, because it is for the honor of
the living. This is the general rule: Whatever is for the honor
of the living may be done; but everything which is not for their
sake, it is not imperative for the congregation to do for such.

B. Who is to be considered a suicide ? If one ascended to
the top of a tree or a roof, and he fell down and was killed, 1 he
must not be considered a suicide, unless he says previously: " I
am going to drop myself!" and immediately afterward it was
observed that he did so ; then it is to be considered a suicide,
and he shall be buried without any religious ceremonies.

C. When one is found hanging on a tree strangled, or lying
on a sword killed, he is not to be considered a suicide, and noth-
ing may be withheld from him.

D. It happened to the son of Gornos in Lud, who ran away
from school, that his father threatened him. Being afraid of his
father, he drowned himself in a pit. When R. Tarphon was in-
quired about him, he said: Nothing shall be withheld from him.

E. It happened to a lad at the city of Bene-Berak, who
broke a glass on the Sabbath, that his father threatened him.
Being afraid of his father, he drowned himself in a pit. It was
told to R. Aqiba, and he said : Nothing shall be withheld from
him. 1

F. From this the sages declared : One shall not threaten a child.
He shall either punish him immediately, or he shall keep silence.
Said R. Simeon b. Elazar: Lust, children, and women should
be repulsed with the left, and attracted with the right hand. 1

G. Those who are put to death by the decision of a court
must be buried without any ceremonies. Their brothers and
relatives may come and greet the witnesses and the judges, to
show them that the judgment is considered just, and that they

mourners pass, and each one consoles them. So was the custom
at that time, and in some congregations it is still extant. The
mourners' benediction (Tzidduk Hadin) is said in the cemetery just
after the interment.

B. l Although he said he would do so sometime previous.

E. ' According to Rashi, Mishna A is incomplete, and must read
thus: But if the suicide was a minor, it is different. He said so,
that the decisions of Aqiba and Tarphon should not contradict it.

F. x To all these three, to which human beings are attracted nat-
urally, it is advisable not to be subject, but at the same time, when
he attracts them with the right, he shall try to repel them with the
left when necessary.



EBEL RABBATHI, OR SEMA'HOTH. 5

have nothing against them; that they do not mourn for them
loudly, but are sorry for them, as sorrow is only in the heart.
Rabbi Nathan, however, said: There is no difference between
silent sorrow and loud weeping. 1

H. No funeral meal 1 must be prepared for them, as it is
written [Lev. xix. 26]: " Ye shall not eat upon the blood." 2

/. Whoever separates himself from the congregation, nobody


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