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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 96a

where it has been taught: If one tested1  a [wine] jug for the purpose of taking from it, periodically, heave-offering [for wine kept in other jugs];2  and, subsequently,3  it was found [to contain] vinegar,4  all5  three days It is certain, [and] after that it is doubtful.6  What does this mean? — R. Johanan said, It means this: During the first three days [after the test, it is regarded as] certain wine;7  after that, [as] doubtful.8  What is the reason? — [Because] wine [begins to] deteriorate from above,9  and this [man] had tasted it [and ascertained that] it had not deteriorated; [and] if it be assumed that it had deteriorated [immediately] after it had been tasted, [even then during the first three days], it had the odour of vinegar and the taste of wine, and whenever the odour is of vinegar and the taste is of wine, it is regarded as wine. And R. Joshua b. Levi said: [The meaning of the Baraitha is that] during the last three days10  [it is regarded as] certainly vinegar;11  prior to that, [as] doubtful.12  What is the reason? — Wine [begins to] deteriorate from below, and it is possible [that it had already] deteriorated [during the test] but he did not know.13  [Moreover, even] if it is assumed that deterioration [begins] from the top, [and it will be argued that it must have been wine] since [this man] had tasted it and [ascertained that] it had not [then] deteriorated, [it may be retorted that] it is possible that it deteriorated [immediately] after he tasted it, [and it had] the odour of vinegar and the taste of wine, and [the law is that wherever] the odour is vinegar and the taste. wine, [it is regarded as] vinegar.

The scholars of the South [of Palestine] taught in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: [During the] first [three days it is regarded as] certainly wine.14  [During the] last [three days, as] certainly vinegar. [During the] intervening [days as] doubtful. Is not this self-contradictory? [Since] you said that [during the] first [three days it is regarded as] certainly wine, it is obvious that [if the] odour is vinegar and the taste wine, [it is regarded as] wine;15  and then you say [that during the] last [three days it is regarded as] certainly vinegar, [which] proves clearly [that if the] odour is vinegar and the taste, wine, [it is regarded as] vinegar?16  — [The second clause deals with the case] when it was found [to be] very strong vinegar [in which case it is known] that had it not lost its taste three days [previously], it could not have been found [to be such] very strong vinegar.17

According to whom18  did [R. Joseph] answer him?19  — R. Mari and R. Zebid [are in dispute on this]. One says: According to R. Johanan. and the other says: According to R. Joshua b. Levi.

It has been stated: [In the case] when one sold a jug of wine to another and it became sour,20  Rab said: During the first three days [of the sale] it is [regarded as still] in the possession of the seller;21  after that, [it is regarded as] in the possession of the buyer.22

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Either by tasting some of its contents, the heave-offering and tithe having been duly taken from it (Rashb.), or by smelling (Tosaf.)
  2. In order that he might be allowed to use the wine in the other jugs he keeps this one jug for the purpose of taking from it daily, or whenever required, the appropriate quantity of wine as heave-offering. etc., for the wine in the other jugs.
  3. E.g.. after a month or two.
  4. Vinegar. may not be used as a heave-offering for wine.
  5. The explanation of this follows.
  6. Tosef. Tem. IV.
  7. For in less than three days, wine cannot turn into vinegar. Even if it be assumed that it began to turn sour immediately after the test, it would not be called 'vinegar' until full three days had elapsed. The heave-offerings given during these three days must, therefore, inevitably have been wine and, consequently, have exempted the wine in the other jugs. (V. n. 7 above).
  8. Since it is possible that the wine began to deteriorate only three days before it was found to be vinegar, into which it may have turned just at that moment. Since the heave-offering is accordingly in doubt (V. n. 7 above). another must be given.
  9. Deteriorations of the wine on the surface takes place first, and then it gradually spreads downwards till all turns sour. During this process, though the contents have the odour of vinegar, the flavour is still that of wine.
  10. Prior to the discovery that it turned into vinegar.
  11. R. Joshua regards the contents as vinegar as soon as they begin to deteriorate in odour though the taste may still be that of wine. Since it is now proper vinegar, the deterioration must have commenced at least three days previously.
  12. Because it is possible that the deterioration, as regards odour, began immediately after the test, and this, according to R. Joshua who is guided by the odour, changes the character of the contents from wine into vinegar on the very first day.
  13. And, consequently, despite the test, the contents were already, at that very moment, vinegar.
  14. R. Joshua holds the same views as R. Johanan.
  15. Cf. R. Johanan's reason.
  16. For if it is regarded as wine, despite the odour of vinegar, the contents may still have been wine three days
  17. The deterioration must consequently have commenced six days previously. In the first three, of these six days, it was still regarded as wine; for his opinion, like that of R. Johanan, is that the odour alone does not deprive the wine of its name, During the last three, of these six days, both odour and taste were that of vinegar, hence his decision is, in such a case, that 'during the last three days it is regarded as certainly vinegar.'
  18. I.e., R. Johanan or R. Joshua? This inquiry is, of course, on the assumption that the first version of R. Joshua's statement, and not that of the scholars of the South, is the correct one.
  19. Abaye, supra 95b.
  20. In the house of the buyer while the wine was still in the seller's jug.
  21. Since it takes three days from the time the wine changes its odour into that of vinegar until it changes its taste also, the deterioration must inevitably have commenced before the sale. The seller, therefore, must remain responsible.
  22. And the seller need not compensate for his loss.
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Baba Bathra 96b

and Samuel says: Wine leaps upon the shoulder of its owner.1  R. Joseph decided a case In accordance [with the opinion] of Rab, in [respect of the sale of] beer;2  and in accordance with that of Samuel in [respect of] wine. And the law is in agreement with [the opinion] of Samuel.

Our Rabbis taught: The benediction, '… by whose word everything was made', is to be said over beer of dates, beer of barley and lees of wine. Others say [that] over lees which have the flavour of wine the benediction, '… the creator of the fruit of the wine' is to be said. Both Rabbah and R. Joseph say: The law is not in accordance with [the view of] the others. Raba said: All agree [in the case where] three [jugs of water] had been poured [into the lees], and four came out, that [the liquid] is [regarded as] wine; [for] Raba [is guided] by his view that any wine which cannot stand [an admixture of] three [units of] water to one [of wine], is no wine.3  [In the case also where] three [jugs of water] had been put [into the lees] and three came out, [all agree that it is] no wine. Their dispute4  has reference only [to the case] where three were put in and three and a half came out. [For in such a case,] the Rabbis hold the opinion [that since for the] three [that] were put in three were taken out, [only] one half is over; and one half, in six halves of water is nothing. But the others hold the opinion [that for the] three put in, [only] two and a half5  were taken out, [a complete] jug, [therefore] remains over, and one jug [of wine] in two and a half [of water] [is regarded as] good wine.

But how can it be said that there is a dispute [at all] in the case when more than the quantity put in [has been taken out]? Surely it has been taught:

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. I.e., the purchaser bears the responsibility for the wine. It is his misfortune that the wine turned sour.
  2. [H] a drink made of dates or barley.
  3. Shab. 77a. 'Er. 29b.
  4. I.e., that of the Rabbis and the 'others'.
  5. A sixth of the water put in is usually lost in the lees.
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