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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
from And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently,1 to to serve them,'2 and cursed them with twenty-two, from But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken,3 to And no man shall buy you.4
WHERE THE USAGE IS TO MEASURE WITH A … BIG MEASURE, etc.
(Mnemonic: Neither exact weight nor heaped up with market officers and with a pound three and ten
Our Rabbis taught: Whence [may it be inferred] that [the measure] must not be levelled6 where the practice is to heap it up, and [that] it must not be heaped up7 where the practice is to level it? — For it has been definitely stated, A perfect … measure.8 And whence [may it be inferred] that we are not to listen to one who Says, 'I will level where the practice is to heap up, and reduce the price' or 'I will heap up where they level, and raise the price'? — For it has been definitely stated, A perfect and just measure thou shalt have.8
Our Rabbis taught: Whence [is it to be inferred] that the exact weight must not be given where the practice is to allow overweight, and that overweight must not be allowed where the practice is to give the exact weight? — For it has been definitely stated, A perfect weight.9 And whence [may it be inferred] that we are not to listen to one who says, 'I will give the exact weight where the practice is to allow overweight, and reduce the price', or 'I will allow overweight where they give the exact weight, and raise the price'? — For it has been definitely stated, A perfect and just weight. Rab Judah of Sura said:10 Thou shalt not have [anything]11 in thy house;12 why? — Because of [thy] diverse measures.7 Thou shalt not have13 [anything] in thy bag;14 why? — Because of [thy] diverse weights.13 But [if thou keep] a perfect and just weight, thou shalt have15 [possessions]; [if] a perfect and just measure, thou shalt have [wealth].
Our Rabbis taught: Thou shalt have,15 teaches that market officers16 are appointed to [superintend] measures, but no such officers are appointed for [superintending] prices.17 Those of the Nasi's18 House appointed market officers to [superintend] both measures and prices. [Thereupon] said Samuel to Karna: Go forth and teach them [the law that] market officers are appointed to [superintend] measures, but no such officers are appointed to [superintend] prices. [But Karna] went forth [and] gave them the [following] exposition: Market officers are appointed to [superintend] both measures and prices. He said unto him: Is your name Karna? Let a horn19 grow out of your eye. A horn,20 [consequently] grew out of his eye. But whose opinion did he follow? — That voiced by Rami b. Hama in the name of R. Isaac that market officers are appointed to [superintend] both measures and prices, on account of the impostors.
Our Rabbis taught: If one asked him for a pound,21 a pound must be weighed. [If] half a pound, half a pound must be weighed. A quarter of a pound, a quarter of a pound must be weighed. What does this teach us? — That weights must be provided in these [three] denominations.22
Our Rabbis taught: If he ordered from him three quarters of a pound, he shall not tell him, 'Weigh out for me the three quarters of the pound one by one'.23 But a pound weight is laid [on the scale] against a quarter of a pound weight with the meat [on the other scale].
Our Rabbis taught: If he ordered from him ten pounds, he shall not say, 'Weigh out for me each [pound] separately and allow overweight [for each].' But all are weighed together and one overweight is allowed for all of them.
Our Rabbis taught: The nefesh24 of a balance25 must be suspended in the air three handbreadths [removed from the roof from which the balance hangs].26 And [the scales must be] three handbreadths above the ground.27 The beam28 and the ropes29 [must contain a total length of] twelve30 handbreadths.31 [The balances] of wool-dealers and glass-ware dealers [must] be suspended in the air two handbreadths [from the ceiling] and two handbreadths above the ground. Their beams and ropes [must contain a total of] nine handbreadths [in length]. [The balance] of a shopkeeper and of a producer32 [must] be suspended in the air one handbreadth [from above], and one handbreadth above the ground. The beam and ropes [must be of a total length of] six handbreadths. A gold balance [must] be suspended in the air three fingers from above, and three fingers above the ground. [The length of] its beam and cords I do not know. But what [kind of balance is] that [which has been mentioned] first?33 —
Baba Bathra 89b
R. Papa said: [A balance used] for heavy pieces of metal.1
R. Mani b. Patish said: The same [restrictions] that have been said [to apply to balances] with reference to their disqualification [for commercial uses] have also been said [to apply to them] with reference to their [liability to] Levitical defilement.2 What does he come to teach us? [Surely] this has [already] been taught [in the following]:3 The [length of the] cords4 of a shopkeeper's, and of producers' balances [which may be subjected to the laws of Levitical defilement, must be] one handbreadth! [And, since this restriction5 has specifically been applied to one kind of balance, are not the other kinds of balance to be implied?]6 — [The statement of R. Mani] is required [on account of the sizes of] the beam and the cords, which have not been mentioned [there].
Our Rabbis taught: The strike may not be made thick11 on one side and thin on the other.12 One may not strike with a single quick movement, for striking in this manner causes loss13 to the seller and benefits14 the buyer. Nor may one strike very slowly because [this] is disadvantageous13 to the buyer and beneficial14 for the seller. Concerning all these [sharp practices of traders], R. Johanan b. Zakkai said:15 Woe to me if I should speak [of them]; woe to me if I should not speak. Should I speak [of them], knaves might learn [them]; and should I not speak, the knaves might say, 'the scholars are unacquainted with our practices' [and will deceive us still more]. The question was raised: Did he [R. Johanan] speak [of these sharp practices] or not? R. Samuel son of R. Isaac said: He did speak [of them]; and in so doing16 [he based his decision] on17 the following Scriptural text: For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just do walk in them; but transgressors do stumble therein.18
Our Rabbis taught:19 [It is written], You shall do no unrighteousness in judgments in meteyard, in weight. or in measure.20 In meteyard relates to the measuring of ground; one should not measure out for one person in the hot21 season and for another in the rainy22 season. In weight, [means] that one shall not keep his weights in salt.23 In measure, that one shall not cause [liquids] to froth.24 And by inference from minor to major, [the following may be deduced]. If the Torah cared [for proper measure in] a mesurah25 which is one thirty-sixth of a log. how much more [should one be careful to give proper measure in the case] of a hin.26 half a hin, a third of a hin, a quarter of a hin, a log,27 half a log, a quarter [of a log], a toman,28 half a toman and an 'ukla!29
Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: A person is forbidden to keep30 in his house a measure [which is either] smaller or larger [than the nominal capacity] even if [it is used as a] urine tub. R. Papa said: This applies only in [the case of] a place where [measures] are not [officially] marked,31 but where they are [officially] marked [they may be used; for] if [the buyer] sees no mark he does not accept [them] — And even where they are not marked, this has been said only in the case where they are not supervised,32 but if they are supervised32 it does not matter. But this is not [right]; for [the buyer] may sometimes happen [to call] at twilight33 and accidentally accept [the faulty measure]. The same, indeed, has been taught [in the following]: A person must not keep in his house a measure [which is either] smaller or larger [than the nominal capacity], even if [it is used as a] urine tub. But a person may make a se'ah,34 a tarkab,35 half a tarkab, a kab,36 half a kab, a quarter [of a kab], a toman,37 half a toman
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