Watchman Willie Martin Archive

Now you can see what a damn lier this Jew is, for he says that I am a liar, so if I show you where he is wrong does that not make him a liar? I think it does.

Talmud ‑ Mas. Sanhedrin 57a

for it is written, The earth also was corrupt before God;1 and a Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael taught: Wherever corruption is mentioned, it must refer to immorality and idolatry.2 ‘Immorality.’ as it is written, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.3 ‘Idolatry,’ for it is written, Lest ye corrupt yourselves and make you a graven image, etc.4 And the other teacher [who deduces this from the verse, and the Lord God commanded etc.]?5 He maintains that this verse [sc. the earth also etc.] merely describes their way of living.6 ‘Bloodshed’, as it is written, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, etc.7 And the other?8 — This verse [he will maintain] merely teaches the manner of execution.9 Robbery, for it is written, As the wild herbs have I given you all things;10 upon which R. Levi commented: as the wild herbs, but not as the cultivated herbs.11 And the other?12 — He will hold that this verse is written to permit animal flesh,13 [but not to prohibit robbery]. Flesh cut from the living animal, as it is written, But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.14 And the other?15 — He may hold that this verse teaches that flesh cut from live reptiles is permitted.16 Emasculation, for it is written, Bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.17 And the other?18 — He may regard this merely as a blessing.19 Forbidden mixture, as it is said, Of fowls after their kind.20 And the other?21 — He will maintain that this was merely for the sake of mating.22

        R. Joseph said, The scholars23 stated: A heathen is executed for the violation of three precepts‑ Mnemonic G Sh R‑24 viz., adultery, bloodshed, and blasphemy. R. Shesheth objected: Now bloodshed is rightly included, since it is written, Whoso sheddeth the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;25 but whence do we know the others? If they are derived from bloodshed,26 the other four should also be included; whilst if their inclusion is taught by the extending phrase any man,27 should not idolatry too be included?28 But R. Shesheth said thus: The scholars stated, A heathen is executed for the violation of four precepts [including idolatry]. But is a heathen executed for idolatry? Surely it has been taught: With respect to idolatry, such acts for which a Jewish court decrees sentence of death [on Jewish delinquents] are forbidden to the heathen. This implies that they are merely forbidden, but their violation is not punished by death! — R. Nahman b. Isaac answered: Their prohibition is their death sentence.29

        R. Huna, Rab Judah, and all the disciples of Rab maintained: A heathen is executed for the violation of the seven Noachian laws; the Divine Law having revealed this of one [murder], it applies to all. Now is a heathen executed for robbery? Has it not been taught: ‘With respect to robbery — IF ONE STOLE OR ROBBED30 or [seized] a beautiful woman,31 or [committed] similar offences,32 if [these were perpetrated] by one Cuthean (CHRISTIAN)33 against another, [the theft, etc.] MUST NOT BE KEPT, and likewise [the theft] of an Israelite by a Cuthean, BUT THAT OF A CUTHEAN (CHRISTIAN) BY AN ISRAELITE (a Jew) MAY BE RETAINED’?34 But if robbery is a capital offence, should not the Tanna have taught: He incurs a penalty? — Because the second clause wishes to state, ‘but that of a Cuthean by an Israelite may be retained,’ therefore the former clause reads, ‘[theft of an Israelite by a Cuthean] must not be kept.’35 But where a penalty is incurred, IT IS EXPLICITLY STATED, FOR THE COMMENCING CLAUSE TEACHES: ‘FOR MURDER, WHETHER OF A CUTHEAN (Christian) BY A CUTHEAN, OR OF AN ISRAELITE BY A CUTHEAN, PUNISHMENT IS INCURRED; BUT OF A CUTHEAN BY AN ISRAELITE (a Jew, in other words a Jew can kill a Christian and he will not be killed for it, but if a Christian kills a Jew he will be executed, as we will see), (If a Jew kill a Christian) THERE IS NO DEATH PENALTY’?36 — How else could that clause have been taught? Could he state, ‘forbidden’ . . . ‘permitted’? Surely it has been taught; A Cuthean and a [Jewish] shepherd of small cattle [sheep, goats, etc.]37 need neither be rescued [from a pit] nor may they be thrown [therein]!38

        ‘And similar acts.’ To what can this apply in the case of robbery? — R. Aha b. Jacob answered: To a worker in a vineyard [who eats of the grapes]. When so? If his is the finishing work, it is permitted?39 If it is not the finishing work, is it not actual robbery?40 — But R. Papa said: This applies to [the theft of] an article worth less than a perutah.41 But if so, why say that such robbery of a Jew by a Cuthean must not be kept: does he not forgive him?42 — Though he later forgives him, he is grieved when it occurs [therefore it is prohibited] — But how can you say that such robbery by one Cuthean from another is but a ‘similar act’ [i.e., bordering on robbery]: since a Cuthean does not forgive,43 is it not actual theft? — But R. Aha, the son of R. Ika answered; It applies to the withholding of a labourer's wage.44 One Cuthean from another, or a Cuthean from an Israelite is forbidden, BUT AN ISRAELITE (a Jew) FROM A CUTHEAN IS PERMITTED (thieft by a Jew from a Christian is permitted, but a thieft from a Jew by a Christian is not permitted).45 To what can ‘a similar act’ apply in the case of a beautiful woman? — When R. Dimi came,46 he said in the name of R. Eleazar in the name of R. Hanina: To a heathen who allotted a bondwoman to his slave [for concubinage] and then took her for himself, for this he is executed.47

        ‘A similar act’, however, is not taught with reference to murder.48 Abaye said: If it should be, however, that it is so taught, it would be in accordance with R. Jonathan b. Saul. For it has been taught; If one was pursuing his neighbour to slay him, and the latter could have saved himself by maiming a limb [of the pursuer, e.g., his foot], and did not thus save himself [but killed him instead],


(1) Gen. VI, II

(2) And once they were punished for these offences, they must first have been admonished against them.

(3) Ibid. ‘Corrupted his way’ connotes immorality; cf. the way of a man with a maid. Prov. XXX, 19.

(4) Deut. IV, 16.

(5) How does he utilize this latter verse?

(6) But is not intended to imply a prohibition.

(7) Gen. IX, 6.

(8) I.e., who deduces it from the verse, all the Lord commanded.

(9) I.e., by the sword, v. p. 380 n. 5; but the fact of execution is taught elsewhere.

(10) Ibid. 3.

(11) I.e., only as that which grows wild, without any owners; but not as that which is cultivated, hence owned by someone. This proves that robbery was forbidden them.

(12) V. n. 8.

(13) Which was prohibited to Adam, v. infra 59b.

(14) Ibid. 4. ‘Flesh with the blood  thereof’ means flesh cut from the living animal.

(15) V.n.8.

(16) V. infra 59a, b.

(17) Ibid. This, of course, is a direct negation of emasculation.

(18) V. p. 386, n.8,

(19) But it is not intended to convey any prohibition.

(20) Ibid. VI, 20; hence different species are not to be crossed.

(21) V. p. 386, n.8.

(22) It being easier to mate with the same species than with another; but no prohibition is implied thereby.

(23) The term be Rab does not necessarily mean the school presided over by Rab, though it may have that meaning occasionally. In one sense, it connotes the school founded by him, but lasting many generations after his lifetime. In another, it denotes schools in general. In this very instance, the views attributed to be Rab conflict with the teaching of Rab, Rab Judah, and all his disciples (Weiss. Dor II, p. 206.)

(24) r"ad: a mnemonic is given to facilitate the remembering of the subjects of a discussion. Here it stands for Gilluy ‘Arayoth — adultery; Shefikuth damin — murder; and birkath ha‑shem — blasphemy.

(25) Gen. IX, 6.

(26) That as bloodshed was forbidden on pain of death, so were the others too.

(27) Heb. aht aht ish ish. Lev. XXIV, 15: Any man (ish ish) that curseth his God shall bear his sin. Ibid. XVIII, 6: No man (ish ish) shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. In both cases one referring to blasphemy, and the other to incest, the repetition of ish extends the law to embrace heathens too.

(28) Lev. XX, 2: Whosoever he be (ish ish ) of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed to Moloch (i.e., engages in idol worship); he shall surely be put to death. The repetition then, here too, should extend the death penalty for idolatry to heathens.

(29) I.e., in speaking of heathens, when the Tanna teaches that they are forbidden to do something, he ipso facto teaches that it is punishable by death; for only in speaking of Jews is it necessary to distinguish between prohibition and punishment.


(31) In war, v. Deut. XXI, 10‑14 — a species of robbery. [This is the only possible and correct rendering of the text, contra Goldschmidt. Cf. Tosef A.Z.]

(32) Acts which are not actual robbery, but partake of its nature.

(33) ‘CUTHEAN’ (Samaritan, we know that the Samaritans were Israelites because of the woman at the well, who said that her father was Jacob) WAS HERE SUBSTITUTED BY THE CENSOR FOR THE ORIGINAL GOY (heathen).

(34) [I.e., THOUGH IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ROB THE HEATHEN (v. Yad, Genebah I, 2; VI, 8), THE OFFENCE WAS NON-ACTIONABLE. For reason, v. B. K. (Sonc. ed.) note on Mishnah 37b.]

(35) But actually it is punishable too. [This is merely a survival of old Semitic tribal law that regarded theft and robbery as a crime against the state, and consequently punishable by death. V. Muller, D. H., Hammurabi, 88]


(37) Both are regarded as robbers the latter because they permit their charges to graze in other people's fields.

(38) One need neither exert oneself to save them from death, nor may one encompass it. This, of course, is theoretical only, v. p. 388, n. 6. Not a few of these harsh utterances (where they do not reflect the old Semitic tribal law, v. p. 388. n. 7) were the natural result of Jewish persecution by the Romans, and must be understood in that light. In actual practice, these dicta were certainly never acted upon, and it is significant that a commission of Roman officers, after investigating Jewish law in its relation to Gentiles, took exception only to two laws, one relating to the damage done by a goring ox, and the other permitting a Jew the use of property stolen from a Gentile. R. Gamaliel repealed this latter law. (B.K. 38a: Sifre Deut. 344.) Hence, reverting to the discussion, the Tanna could not have stated that the murder of a Cuthean by a Jew is permissible, therefore he is forced to speak of punishment.

(39) E.g., the gathering in of the grapes. Deut. XXIII, 25 is interpreted by the Rabbis as referring to work in connection with the finishing touch given to the produce.

(40) Not merely bordering thereon.

(41) A small coin, one‑eighth of the Roman as.

(42) One does not mind such a trifle, and readily forgives it.

(43) Even such a trifle, v. infra 59a.

(44) This only borders on a robbery, for actual robbery means depriving a person of what he already possesses


(46) R. Dimi was a Palestinian Amora of the fourth century, who travelled to and fro between, Babylon and Palestine, and was very zealous in transmitting the teachings of Palestine Scholars to his colleagues in Babylon (v. J. E. IV, 603; cf. p. 361, n. 5, supra.

(47) This, though not actual robbery, is similar to it.

(48) A deed is either actual murder or not. Even unwitting murder is murder, though the Almighty shewed mercy by sparing the murderer.

Talmud ‑ Mas. Chullin 94a

then one should be allowed to send it even though it was cut up, for no [Jew] would buy it from him. And if we are speaking of a place where they do proclaim it,1 then one should not be allowed to send even an entire thigh,2 for he [the gentile] will cut it up and sell it! — If you wish I can say that it is a place where they do proclaim it, and if you wish I can say that it is a place where they do not proclaim it. IF YOU WISH, I CAN SAY THAT IT IS A PLACE WHERE THEY DO PROCLAIM IT, [and yet there is nothing to fear] BECAUSE THE CUTTING UP [of the thigh] BY A GENTILE IS RECOGNIZABLE.3 ‘AND IF YOU WISH, I CAN SAY THAT IT IS A PLACE WHERE THEY DO NOT PROCLAIM IT’, [and yet it is forbidden to send a portion] LEST HE SHOULD GIVE IT TO THE GENTILE IN THE PRESENCE OF ANOTHER ISRAELITE (Here it is telling us that the Jews can sell stolen meat to a gentile, but they must not do it in public, it must be kept hidden; in a place where they do not proclaim it).4 Alternatively, I can say, [it is forbidden] because he thereby deceives him,5 and Samuel holds that it is forbidden to deceive people even gentiles.

        THIS VIEW OF SAMUEL WAS NOT EXPRESSLY STATED BUT WAS INFERRED FROM THE FOLLOWING INCIDENT. Samuel was once crossing on a ferryboat and he said to his attendant, ‘Reward the ferryman’. He rewarded him, but [Samuel] became angry. Why was he angry? — Abaye said: Because he [the attendant] had a trefah hen and he gave it to the ferryman representing it as one that was ritually slaughtered. Raba said: Because he [Samuel] told him to give him [the gentile] anpaka6 to drink, and he gave him mixed wine to drink.7 And what if it was only inferred? — Because according to him who says that he gave him a trefah hen, it can be said [that Samuel was angry with his attendant] for keeping with him [a forbidden thing].8 And according to him who says that he told him to give him anpaka, it can be said [that Samuel was angry] because anpaka really means unmixed wine.9

        It was taught: R. Meir used to say: A man should not urge his friend to dine with him when he knows that his friend will not do so.10 And he should not offer him many gifts when he knows that his friend will not accept them. And he should not open [for a guest] casks of wine which are to be sold by the shopkeeper,11 unless he informs [the guest] of it. And he should not invite him to anoint himself with oil12 if the jar is empty. If, however, the purpose is to show the guest great respect, it is permitted. But surely this cannot be right. For Ulla once came to Rab Judah's house and the latter opened up for him casks that were later to be sold by the shopkeeper! — He must have informed him of this fact. Or if you wish, I can say that the case of Ulla is different, for he was so dear to Rab Judah that he would have opened for him even those that were not [to be sold by the shopkeeper].

        Our Rabbis taught: A man should not go to the house of a mourner13 with a bottle in which the wine shakes about;14 neither should he fill it with water because he thereby deceives him. If, however, there is a large assembly15 present, it is permitted.

        Our Rabbis taught: A man should not sell to his neighbour shoes made of the hide of an animal which died, [representing them] as made of the hide of a living animal which was slaughtered, for two reasons: first, because he is deceiving him, and secondly, because of the danger.16 A man should not send to his neighbour a barrel of wine with oil floating at the mouth of it.17 It once happened that a man sent his friend a barrel of wine, and there was oil floating at the mouth of the barrel. He went and invited some guests to partake of it. When they came and he found that it was only wine he went and hanged himself.18 The guests may not give from what is set before them to the son or daughter of the host, unless they have the host's permission to, do so. It once happened that a man in a time of scarcity invited three guests to his house and he only had three eggs19 to set before them. When the child of the host entered, one of the guests took his portion and gave it to him, the second guest did likewise, and so did the third. When the father of the child came and saw him stuffing one [egg] in his mouth and holding two in his hands, he [in rage] knocked him to the ground so that he died. When the child's mother saw this she went up to the roof and threw herself down and died. He too went up to the roof and threw himself down and died. R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: Because of this three souls in Israel perished. What does he [R. Eliezer b. Jacob] tell us? — It means that the whole story was related by R. Eliezer b. Jacob.

        Our Rabbis taught: If a man sends to his friend a whole thigh he need not remove beforehand the sciatic nerve; if [he sends it] cut up he must remove beforehand the sciatic nerve. To a gentile, however, whether he sends it cut up or whole, he need not remove beforehand the sciatic nerve. And for two reasons they said, a man should not sell to a gentile animals that have become nebelah or trefah:20 first because he is deceiving him,21 and secondly because he in turn might sell it to another Israelite. A man should not say to a gentile. ‘Buy for me meat with this denar’, for two reasons:


(1) So that on any day when no proclamation about trefah has been made Jews may buy meat without hesitation from gentiles.

(2) Unless the nerve had been removed beforehand, for the gentile might cut it up in portions and sell it to Jews, and when cut up it is no longer easy to ascertain whether the nerve has been removed or not.



(5) Lit., ‘steals his mind’, i.e., creates a false impression upon him. The gentile would be delighted in the thought that his Jewish friend is sending him meat fit for his own table, and would be the more grateful to him, whereas in reality the meat sent was not fit for his own table as the nerve had not been removed therefrom, and so the gratitude of the gentile will have been falsely earned.

(6) tepbt, a form of the word dcbt (v. Jast. s.v.), strictly, a small cup the capacity of one fourth of a log, cf. B.B. 58b. A popular term also for strong, unmixed wine.

(7) And the gentile thought it was unmixed wine.

(8) And not because he deceived the gentile.

(9) And by giving mixed wine he disregarded the orders of Samuel. Hence his anger.

(10) He is merely gaining the gratitude of his friend through something which he had no intention of doing. This is the reason in all the cases mentioned.

(11) It was not unusual for a private person when about to open a barrel of wine for his table to make arrangements with a shopkeeper to dispose of that which is left after the meal; a necessary arrangement, for once the barrel has been opened the wine will in a very short time turn sour. To open up a barrel of wine for a guest without informing him of the arrangement with the shopkeeper is taking credit for something one has not merited.

(12) Knowing full well that his friend will not do so.

(13) It was the custom to drink wine at the house of a mourner, and over each cup of wine certain Benedictions and appropriate words of consolation to the mourners were recited; v. Keth. 8b. The visitors would come bringing with them bottles of wine; and one must not deceive people by coming with a bottle filled with water or only half‑filled with wine.

(14) I.e., it contains only a little wine and therefore shakes about in the bottle.

(15) rhg rcj Lit., ‘an assembly of the city’. If this man also wishes to show his respect to the mourners among the large gathering of people and he cannot afford to bring wine he may adopt this deception, for the motive justifies the means. [Aliter: a town scholar, vocalizing rcj; i.e., if there is a scholar among the visitors and the man wishes to show his respect to the scholar present, cf. Meg. (Sonc. ed.) p. 164, n. 1.]

(16) As the animal may have died through the bit of a serpent and the hide of the animal may thereby have become contaminated.

(17) Leading him to believe that the whole barrel contains oil.

(18) Because of shame, for he had nothing else prepared to set before his guests.

(19) So Bah. Cur. edd. as (the size of) three eggs.

(20) Without informing him of this fact.

(21) For a gentile when buying meat of a Jew believes that he is buying the meat of an animal that has been ritually slaughtered, and it is forbidden to take advantage of his ignorance and to pass on to him trefah meat.

Talmud ‑ Mas. Baba Metzia 24a

hospitality.1 What is the point [in this observation]? — Mar Zutra said: [It is important in regard to the question] of returning a lost article, [recognised] by sight: If we know that [the claimant] conceals the truth in those three matters only we give it back to him, but if he does not speak the truth also in other matters we do not give it back to him. Mar Zutra the pious once had a silver vessel stolen from him2 in a hospice. When he saw a disciple wash his hands and dry them on someone else's garment he said, ‘This is the person [who stole the vessel], as he has no consideration for the property of his neighbour.’ [The disciple] was then bound, and he confessed.

        It has been taught: ‘R. Simeon b. Eleazar admits that new vessels which the eye has sufficiently noted have to be announced. And the following new vessels which the eye has not sufficiently noted have not to be announced: such as — poles of needles,3 knitting needles, and bundles of axes. All these objects mentioned above are permitted4 only if they are found singly, but if found in twos one must announce them.’ What are badde [‘poles’]? Rods. And why are they called badde [‘poles’]? Because an object on which things hang is called ‘bad’5 — as is stated there:6 One leaf on one branch [‘bad’]. ‘R. Simeon b. Eleazar also said: If one rescues anything from a lion, a bear, a leopard, a panther, or from the tide of the sea, or from the flood of a river, or if one finds anything on the high road, or in a broad square, or in any place where crowds are frequent, it belongs to the finder — because the owner has given it up.7

        The question was asked: Did R. Simeon b. Eleazar say this [with regard to things found in places] where the majority of the people are heathens,8 but not where the majority are Israelites, or [did he say this] also [with regard to things found in places] where the majority are Israelites? And if you come to the conclusion that [he said this] also where the majority are Israelites do the Rabbis differ from him or not? And if you come to the conclusion that they differ from him — they would certainly differ where the majority are Israelites — do they differ where the majority are heathens, or not?9 And if you come to the conclusion that they differ even where the majority are heathens, is the law in accordance with his view or not? And if you come to the conclusion that the law is in accordance with his view, does this apply only to the case where the majority are heathens, or also to the case where the majority are Israelites? — Come and hear: If one finds money in a Synagogue or a house of study, or in any other place where crowds are frequent, it belongs to the finder, because the owner has given it up.10 Now, who is the authority that lays it down that we go according to the majority11 if not R. Simeon b. Eleazar? You must therefore conclude that [he applies this principle] also to a case where the majority are Israelites!12 — Here we deal with [a case where the money found was] scattered.13 But if [the money was] scattered, why refer to places where crowds are frequent? It would apply also to places where crowds are not frequent!14 — Admittedly, therefore, [the reference is to money found] in bundles,15 but we deal here with Synagogues16 of heathens. But how can this be applied to ‘houses of study’?17 — [The reference is to] our houses of study in which heathens stay.18 Now that you have arrived at this conclusion [the reference to] ‘Synagogues’ [can] also [be explained as meaning] our Synagogues in which heathens stay.

        Come and hear: If one finds therein19 a lost object, then if the majority are Israelites it has to be announced, but if the majority are heathens it has not to be announced.20 Now who is the authority that lays it down that we go according to the majority if not R. Simeon b. Eleazar? You must therefore conclude that R. Simeon b. Eleazar says this only where the majority are heathens, but not where the majority are Israelites! — [No.] This is the view of the Rabbis. But then you could conclude therefrom that the Rabbis accept R. Simeon b. Eleazar's view in the case where the majority are heathens! — Admittedly, therefore, this21 represents the view of R. Simeon b. Eleazar, and his ruling applies also to a case where the majority are Israelites, but here21 we deal [with a case where the money was] concealed.22 But if it was concealed, what has [the finder] to do with it? Have we not learnt: ‘if one finds a vessel in a dungheap, if covered up he may not touch it; but if uncovered he must take it and announce it’?23 — As R. papa explained:24 [The reference is] to a dungheap which is not regularly cleared away, and which [the owner] unexpectedly decided to clear away — so here also [the reference is] to a dungheap which is not regularly cleared away, and which [the owner] unexpectedly decided to clear away.25


(1) Regarding which a scholar may refuse to give correct information in order not to embarrass his host by inducing others to come and seek the latter's hospitality.

(2) [MS.M. omits ‘from him’. The cup belonged accordingly to the hospice. (V. Rashi.) This version is supported by the fact that Mar Zutra acted in the case in a judicial capacity, and it is unlikely that he would act thus in a case affecting his own interests. V. Chajes. Z.H. Notes a.l.]

(3) Poles into which needles are stuck (Rashi). Some authorities leave out the word ‘poles’ and read ‘needles’ alone. Others regard the word ‘poles’ as separate from the word ‘needles’ (not as a construct but as an absolute plural form) and translate ‘poles, needles,’ etc.

(4) To be kept by the finder.

(5) sc  the singular of  hsc (poles).

(6) [So according to many texts; cur. edd., ‘as we learnt’ is evidently a copyist's error, as the passage cited (Suk. 44b) is not Mishnaic but Amoraic.]

(7) A.Z. 43a.

(8) [Heathens do not return lost articles (v. infra p. 152, n. 3), and consequently do not come within the provision of the law relating to the announcement of finds. Moreover, according to Tosaf., even if it were certain that the article belonged to an Israelite, there would be no need to return it because the owner, presuming that a heathen found it, would despair of recovering it. v. B.K. (Sonc. ed.) p. 666.]

(9) [In view of the principle that we do not follow the majority in money matters.]

(10) Cf. supra 21b.

(11) I.e., that in the question whether a found article is to be returned depends on considerations relating to the majority of the people that frequent the place where the article is found.

(12) As the majority of those congregating in a Synagogue are Israelites.

(13) In such a case the Rabbis also hold that the money belongs to the finder, as stated in the Mishnah, supra 21a.

(14) Scattered money has no identification mark and is given up by the owner as soon as it is lost, even if crowds do not frequent the place where it has been dropped.

(15) Which present an identification mark and are only given up when lost in a place which is frequented by crowds.

(16) ,uhxbf , lit., ‘houses of assembly’, or ‘meeting places,’ not Jewish houses of prayer. It is in this sense that the term is used here.

(17) Even if the term ‘Synagogues’ could be interpreted as meaning secular meeting places used by Gentiles, how could the term  arsnv ,hc  applied only to Colleges where Jewish law is studied and expounded, mean anything but Jewish Colleges frequented by Jews?

(18) Jewish Colleges situated outside the Jewish quarters and guarded by Gentile watchmen placed there for the purpose.

(19) In a city inhabited by Jews and heathens.

(20) Mak. II, 8.

(21) This cited Mishnah.

(22) In which case it was not lost at all, and if the majority were Israelites the finder would have to announce it.

(23) As the article may have been thrown on the dungheap accidentally (Mishnah, infra 25b).

(24) Ibid.

(25) In which case the finder must take the article away and announce it. (Cf. infra 25b.) Had the owner of the dungheap been in the habit of clearing it away regularly the person who placed the article there could not have claimed it, as the ‘loss’ would have been a deliberate one.

Talmud ‑ Mas. Avodah Zarah 26b

though they must not be cast in, but minim,1 informers, and apostates may be cast in, and need not be brought up.’ Whereupon R. Johanan remarked: I have been learning that the words, And so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's [thou mayest not hide thyself],2 are also applicable to an apostate, and you say he may be thrown down; leave out apostates! Could he not have answered that the one might apply to the kind of apostate who eats carrion meat to satisfy his appetite,3 and the other to an apostate who eats carrion meat to provoke? — In his opinion, an apostate eating carrion meat to provoke is the same as a min.4

   Being thrown down means to be thrown into a pit and the one thrown in the pit is not allowed to climb out of it; nor is anyone to help them out.

        It has been stated: [In regard to the term] apostate there is a divergence of opinion between R. Aha and Rabina; one says that [he who eats forbidden food] to satisfy his appetite, is an apostate, but [he who does it] to provoke is a ‘min’; while the other says that even [one who does it] to provoke is merely an apostate. — And who is a ‘min’? — One who actually worships idols.5

        An objection was raised: If one eats a flea or a gnat he is an apostate. Now such a thing could only be done to provoke, and yet we are taught that he is merely an apostate! — Even in that case he may just be trying to see what a forbidden thing tastes like.

        The Master said: ‘They may be cast in and need not be brought up’ — if they may be cast in need it be said that they need not be brought up? — Said R. Joseph b. Hama in the name of R. Shesheth: What is meant to convey is that if there was a step in the pit‑wall, one may scrape it away, giving as a reason for doing so, the prevention of cattle being lured by the step to get unto the pit. Raba and R. Joseph both of them said: It means to convey that if there is a stone lying by the pit opening, one may cover the pit with it, saying that he does it for [the safety] of passing animals. Rabina said: It is meant to convey that if there is a ladder there, he may remove it, saying, I want it for getting my son down from a roof.

        Our Rabbis taught: An Israelite may perform a circumcision on a heathen for the purpose of becoming a proselyte — thus excluding [the purpose of] removing a morana.6 But a heathen should not [be allowed to] perform circumcision on an Israelite, because he is liable to take his life. This is the opinion of R. Meir. The Sages said: A heathen may circumcise an Israelite, so long as others are standing by him, but not while he is on his own.7 R. Meir, however, said: Not even when others are standing by, for he may find occasion to let the knife slip and so sterilise him. Does then R. Meir hold the opinion that a heathen is not [to be allowed to circumcise]? But the opposite is proved by the following: In a town where there is no Jewish physician, but there is a physician who is a Cuthean as well as one who is an idolater, circumcision should be performed by the idolater but not by the Cuthean.8 This is the opinion of R. Meir. R. Judah, however, said: It should be performed by the Cuthean but not by the idolater?9 — Reverse [the names]: R. Meir holding that the Cuthean and not the idolater should circumcise, and R. Judah holding the idolater and not the Cuthean. Does then R. Judah hold that it is in order for an idolater to do so? Surely it has been taught: R. Judah said: Whence can it be deduced that circumcision performed by a heathen is invalid? From this verse, And as for thee, thou shalt keep my covenant!10 — Indeed, do not reverse, but say that we are here dealing


(1) Those who act as priests to idols whether they be Israelites or heathen (Rashi).

(2) Deut. XXII, 3.

(3) When he can get no other meat; but who would avoid eating forbidden food when other food is at hand.

(4) And does not require specification.

(5) Hor. 11a.

(6) A parasite worm(?) which may be lodged in the foreskin; which would mean healing without payment.

(7) Tosef. ‘A.Z. Ch.III.

(8) An idolater does not usually practise circumcision. He would therefore perform it in accordance with the intention of the father of the infant. The Cutheans (Samaritans) however, observe circumcision in the name of some object of worship placed on Mount Gerizim where their Temple stood — for which an Israelite must not afford an opportunity.

(9) The heathen being suspected of taking the child's life. (Men. 42a.) Thus R. Meir is said to permit circumcision by a heathen!

(10) Gen. XVII, 9, spoken by God to Abraham when the rite of circumcision was first enacted, which implies that only one bound to keep the rite is qualified to perform it. R. Judah thus rules that a heathen is not qualified.

Reference Materials