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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nedarim

Folio 49a



GEMARA. It was taught: R. Josiah forbids [them].6  And though there is no proof of this,7  there is some indication, for it is said, And they boiled8  the Passover in fire, according to the law.9  Shall we say that they differ in this: That R. Josiah holds: Follow Biblical usage; whilst our Tanna maintains: In vows follow the popular usage? No. All agree that in vows we must follow popular usage: but each [rules] according to [the usage] in his district. In the district of our Tanna roast is called roast, and cooked, cooked. But in R. Josiah's, even roast is called cooked. But he adduces a verse? — That is a mere support.10

[IF HE SAYS,] 'KONAM THAT I TASTE NOT ANY COOKED DISH [TABSHIL]. But he vowed [abstinence] from a tabshil?11  — Said Abaye: This Tanna designates everything with which bread is eaten a tabshil.12  And it was taught [likewise], He who vows [abstinence] from a tabshil is forbidden all cooked food [tabshil], and whatsoever is roasted, seethed, or boiled; he is also forbidden soft preserves of gourds with which the sick eat their bread. But this is not so. For R. Jeremiah fell sick. When the doctor called to heal him, he saw a pumpkin lying in the house. Thereupon he left the house, saying. 'The angel of death is in that house,13  yet I am to cure him'!14  — That is no difficulty: the former refers to soft preserves; the latter to hard.15  Raba b. 'Ulla said: The latter refers to the pumpkin itself;16  the former to its inner contents.17  For Rab Judah said: The soft part of a pumpkin [should be eaten] with beet; the soft part of linseed is good with kutah.18  But this may not be told to the ignorant.19

Raba said: By 'the sick', scholars are meant.20  This agrees with another dictum of his. For Raba said:

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Seethed. Heb. shaluk [H], denotes more thoroughly boiled than cooked (mebushal).
  2. Because (tabshil is only applicable to a loose liquid-like substance, but not to a dense mass.
  3. [ [H] Gr. [G] trembling, hence shrivelled up; v. Gemara. J. explains it as lightly boiled egg; cf. Krauss. T.A. I. pp. 125 and 515.]
  4. This is discussed on 51a.
  5. Both liquids and solids.
  6. Sc. what is roasted or seethed. This refers to the first clause of the Mishnah.
  7. That [H] includes these.
  8. Heb. [H], impf. of [H] of which [H] is a pass. part.
  9. II Chron. XXXV, 13. But the Passover Sacrifice had to be roasted; hence [H] is applicable to roasts too. Yet this is not actual proof, because as stated infra, in vows the popular usage is the norm.
  10. His ruling, however, is not based thereon.
  11. Which implies both loosely cooked and a dense mass.
  12. But not otherwise; a dense mass cannot be eaten with bread.
  13. I.e., the pumpkin is like poison for him.
  14. This shows that they are injurious to invalids.
  15. The soft are beneficial, the hard, injurious.
  16. I.e., the outer portion, which is hard and injurious.
  17. Its heart, which is soft and beneficial
  18. A preserve consisting of sour milk, bread-crusts and salt. — Jast.
  19. Lest they tear up the growing flax to obtain the seed (Ran). Because it will appear absurd to then, (Tosaf).
  20. I.e., in the Baraitha stating that 'the sick' eat their bread with soft preserves of gourds, the Rabbis and students are meant, not the literally sick. Hence there is no contradiction between that and the story of R. Jeremiah.
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Nedarim 49b

In accordance with whom is it that we pray for the invalid and the sick?1  In accordance with R. Jose.2  Since he said, 'the invalid and the sick,' It follows that 'invalid' is literal, and 'the sick' [metaphorically] means the Rabbis.3

BUT IS PERMITTED [TO PARTAKE] OF A DISH SOLIDLY PREPARED. Our Mishnah does not agree with the Babylonians, for R. Zera said: The Babylonians are fools, eating bread with bread.4  R. Hisda said: There is none5  to make enquiries of the epicureans6  of Huzal7  how porridge is best eaten, whether a wheat porridge with wheaten bread, and a barley porridge with barley bread, or perhaps [they are best reversed,] wheat with barley, and barley with wheat. Raba ate it with stunted [parched] grains. Rabbah son of R. Huna found R. Huna eating porridge with his fingers. So he said to him, 'Why do you eat with your hands?' He replied, Thus did Rah say, [To eat] porridge with [one] finger is well: how much more so with two or three! Rab said to his son Hiyya, and R. Huna said the same to his son Rabbah, 'If you are invited to eat porridge, [you may even go] a parasang8  for it; to eat beef, even three parasangs. Rab said to his son Hiyya, and R. Huna said likewise to his son Rabbah: You must never expectorate before your teacher, save [after eating] a pumpkin or porridge, because they are like lead pellets:9  expectorate this even in the presence of King Shapur.10

R. Jose and R. Judah, — one ate porridge with his fingers, and one with a prick.11  He who was eating with the prick said to him who was eating with the fingers, 'How long will you make me eat your filth?'12  The other replied, 'How long will you feed me with your saliva?'13

Lesbian figs14  were placed before R. Judah and R. Simeon. R. Judah ate; R. Simeon did not. [Whereupon] R. Judah asked him, 'Why are [you], Sir not eating?' He replied. 'These never pass out at all from the stomach.' But R. Judah retorted, 'All the more [reason or eating them], as they will sustain us tomorrow.'15  R. Judah was sitting before R. Tarfon, who remarked to him, 'Your face shines to-day.' He replied. 'Your servants went out to the fields yesterday and brought us beets, which we ate unsalted, had we salted them, my face would have shone even more.

A certain matron16  said to R. Judah, 'A teacher and drunkard!'17  He replied, You may well believe me that18  I taste [no wine] but that of Kiddush and Habdalah19  and the four cups of Passover,20  on account of which I have to bind my temples from Passover until Pentecost;21  but a man's wisdom maketh his face shine.22  A min23  said to R. Judah. 'Your face is like that of a moneylender or pig breeder.'24  He replied, 'Both of these are forbidden to Jews; but there are twenty-four conveniences between my house and the School, and every hour I visit one of them.'

When R. Judah went to the Beth ha-Midrash,25  he used to take a pitcher on his shoulders [to sit on], saying. 'Great is labour, for it honours the worker.'26  R. Simeon used to carry a basket upon his shoulders, saying likewise, 'Great is labour, for it honours the worker.'

R. Judah's wife went out, brought wool, and made an embroidered cloak. On going to market she used to put it on, whilst when R. Judah went [to synagogue] to pray he used to wear it. When he donned it, he uttered the benediction, Blessed be He who hath robed me with a robe.50  Now, it happened once that R. Simeon b. Gamaliel proclaimed a fast,28  but R. Judah did not attend the fast-service.29  Being informed that he had nothing to wear, he [R. Simeon b. Gamaliel] sent him a robe, which he did not accept.

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. In our daily prayers; v. P.B. p. 47.
  2. V. R.H. 16a. The Rabbis there maintain that a man is judged on New Year, and once he is sentenced, whether to life or death, the verdict cannot be reversed. Consequently, in their opinion it would be futile to pray for the recovery of the sick during the year. Hence the practice of praying for them accords with R. Jose's view, that man is judged every day.
  3. Who are weakened by their intensive studies.
  4. I. e., even food solidly prepared is eaten by them with bread consequently such would be included in the term 'tabhshil' and forbidden.
  5. So the text as emended by BaH. Asheri reads: Is there any one etc.
  6. Lit., 'those who are very careful in their eating'. Rashi and one version of the Ran. Others: the fastidious.
  7. A very old town lying below Nehardea, but nearer to Sura and belonging to the judicial circuit of the latter: Obermeyer, p. 299.
  8. V. Glos.
  9. I.e., it is dangerous to swallow the saliva left in the mouth after eating these.
  10. Known otherwise as Shapur I. He was King of Persia and a friend of Samuel; Ber. 56a
  11. Used as a fork.
  12. They were both eating out of the same dish.
  13. Because the thorn was not wiped each time after being put into his mouth.
  14. Jast. These are very difficult to digest.
  15. As such below, R. Judah was extremely poor; hence this was a consideration to him, though there is probably an element of humour in his retort.
  16. This is mostly used of Roman ladies of noble birth.
  17. [H] I.e., you are a Sage, yet you are drunk! His faces was always red and shining, giving that impressions.
  18. Lit., 'My faith in the hand of this woman if …'
  19. Kiddush: a short blessing of sanctification, recited at the commencement of Sabbaths and festivals. Habdalah, lit., 'separation', a benediction said at the end of Sabbaths and festivals, thanking God for the distinction He created between holy and non-holy days. Both are recited over wine, which is drunk.
  20. Four cups of wine are drunk at the meals on the first evening (without Palestine, two evenings) of Passover.
  21. They gave him such a headache! Doubtlessly a metaphorical exaggeration.
  22. Ecc. VIII, 1.
  23. [So MS.M. (v. Glos.), cur. edd. 'Sadducee'.]
  24. Their faces are always shining because of their great profits!
  25. School House.
  26. Lit., 'its master'. Otherwise he would have had to sit on the floor. It is not clear whether the school was so deficient in equipment that this was really necessary, or he himself wished to shew his appreciation of labour. In the story of the deposition of R. Gamaliel (Ber. 50b-28a). It is stated that many additional seats were placed for the great accretion of new disciples, proving that it was not customary to sit on the floor. R. Judah belonged to the following generation.
  27. There is no such benediction in the statutory liturgy, and R. Judah probably uttered this without the use of the Divine Name and without mention of God's sovereignty. Through the omission of these it is not really a benediction at all, hence R. Judah might recite it. (Real benedictions may not be uttered save where the Rabbis have prescribed them).
  28. Over and above the statutory fasts special fasts were proclaimed in times of drought or on account of national disasters, such as pestilence, evil decrees, etc.; Ta'an. 19a.
  29. A special service was held: Ta'an. 15a.
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