Previous Folio / Baba Mezi'a Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
[If thou seest the ass of him that hateth thee lying under its burden etc.:] 'lying' [just now], but not an animal that habitually lies down [under his burden]; 'lying,' but not standing;1 'under its burden', but not if it is unloaded;2 'under its burden' — a burden under which it can stand. Now, if you say that [relieving the suffering of an animal] is Biblically [enjoined], what does it matter whether it was lying [this once only], habitually lay down, or was standing? — The authority of this is R. Jose the Galilean, who maintained that [relieving] the suffering of an animal is [enjoined merely] by Rabbinical law. Reason supports this too. For it is taught: 'under its burden' — a burden under which it can stand. Now, whom do you know to hold this view? R. Jose the Galilean:3 this proves it. But can you assign it to R. Jose the Galilean? Does not the second clause teach: 'under its burden' but not if it is unloaded. What is meant by 'not if it is unloaded?' Shall we say, if it is unloaded, there is no obligation at all?4 But it is written, Thou shalt surely help to lift them up again!5 Hence it is obvious [that it means]. If unloaded, there is no obligation [to help to load it] without payment, but for remuneration. Now, whom do you know to hold this view? The Rabbis!6 — In truth, it is R. Jose the Galilean, yet in the matter of loading he agrees with the Rabbis.7
Our Rabbis taught: If thou see [the ass of him etc.]:8 I might think; even in the distance;9 therefore it is taught. If thou meet [thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again].10 If, 'when thou meet', I might think that meet is literally meant; therefore it is written. 'If thou seest', Now, what 'seeing' is the equivalent of 'meeting?' The Sages estimated this as two fifteenths11 of a mil,12 which is a ris.13 A Tanna taught: And he must accompany it as far as a parsang.14 Rabbah b. Bar Hana observed: Yet he receives payment [for this].
MISHNAH. IF [A MAN'S] OWN LOST ARTICLE AND HIS FATHER'S LOST ARTICLE [NEED ATTENTION], HIS OWN TAKES PRECEDENCE. HIS OWN AND HIS TEACHER'S — HIS OWN TAKES PRECEDENCE; HIS FATHER' S AND HIS TEACHER'S — HIS TEACHER'S TAKES PRECEDENCE, BECAUSE HIS FATHER BROUGHT HIM INTO THIS WORLD, WHEREAS HIS TEACHER. 'WHO INSTRUCTED HIM IN WISDOM, BRINGS HIM TO THE FUTURE WORLD. BUT IF HIS FATHER IS A SAGE,15 HIS FATHER'S TAKES PRECEDENCE. IF HIS FATHER AND HIS TEACHER WERE [EACH] CARRYING A BURDEN, HE MUST [FIRST] ASSIST HIS TEACHER TO LAY IT DOWN,16 AND THEN ASSIST HIS FATHER. IF HIS FATHER AND HIS TEACHER ARE IN CAPTIVITY, HE MUST [FIRST] REDEEM HIS TEACHER AND THEN HIS FATHER. BUT IF HIS FATHER IS A SAGE, HE MUST [FIRST] REDEEM HIS FATHER AND THEN HIS TEACHER.
GEMARA. Whence do we know this? — Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Scripture saith, Save that there shall be no poor among you17 yours takes precedence over all others.18 But Rab Judah also said in Rab's name: He who [strictly] observes this, will eventually be brought to it.19
IF HIS FATHER AND HIS TEACHER WERE [EACH] CARRYING A BURDEN etc. Our Rabbis taught: The teacher referred to is he who instructed him in wisdom, not he who taught him Bible and Mishnah:20 this is R. Meir's view. R. Judah said: He from whom one has derived the greater part of his knowledge.21 R. Jose said: Even if he enlightened his eyes in a single Mishnah only, he is his teacher. Said Raba: E.g., R. Sehora, who told me the meaning of zohama listron.22
'Ulla said: The scholars in Babylon arise before and rend their garment for each other [in mourning]; but with respect to a [colleague's] lost article, when one has his father's [also to attend to,] he returns [a scholar's first] only in the case of his teacher put excellence.25 R. Hisda asked R. Huna: 'What of a disciple whom his teacher needs?'26 'Hisda, Hisda,' he exclaimed; 'I do not need you, but you need me.' Forty years27 they bore resentment against and did not visit each other. R. Hisda kept forty fasts because R. Huna had felt himself humiliated, whilst R. Huna kept forty fasts for having [unjustly] suspected R. Hisda.
It has been stated: R. Isaac b. Joseph said in R. Johanan's name: The halachah is as R. Judah. R. Aha son of R. Huna said in R. Shesheth's name: The halachah is as R. Jose.28 Now, did R. Johanan really say this? But R. Johanan said, The halachah rests with an anonymous Mishnah, and we have learnt, HIS TEACHER, WHO INSTRUCTED HIM IN WISDOM!29 — What is meant by WISDOM? The greater part of one's knowledge.
Our Rabbis taught: They who occupy themselves with the Bible [alone] are but of indifferent merit;30 with Mishnah, are indeed meritorious, and are rewarded for it; with Gemara31 — there can be nothing more meritorious; yet run always to the Mishnah more than to the Gemara. Now, this is self-contradictory. You say, 'with Gemara — there can be nothing more meritorious;' and then you say, 'Yet run always to the Mishnah more than to the Gemara!' — Said R. Johanan:
Baba Mezi'a 33b
This teaching1 was taught in the days of Rabbi; thereupon everyone forsook the Mishnah and went to the Gemara; hence he subsequently taught them, 'Yet run always to the Mishnah more than to the Gemara.'2 How was that inferred?3 — Even as R. Judah son of R. Ila'i expounded: What is the meaning of, Shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins?4 'Shew my people their transgression' refers to scholars, whose unwitting errors5 are accounted as intentional faults;6 'and the house of Israel their sins' — to the ignorant, whose intentional sins are accounted to them as unwitting errors. And that is the meaning of what we learnt: R. Judah said: Be heedful of the [Talmud],7 for an error in Talmud is accounted as intentional.
R. Judah son of R. Ila'i taught: What is meant by the verse, Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word?8 — This refers to scholars; Your brethren said, to students of Scripture; that hate you — to students of the Mishnah;9 that cast you out — to the ignorant.10 [Yet] lest you say, their hope [of future joy] is destroyed, and their prospects frustrated, Scripture states, And we shall see your joy.11 Lest you think, Israel shall be ashamed, — therefore it is stated, and they shall be ashamed: the idolaters shall be ashamed, whilst Israel shall rejoice.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN ENTRUSTS AN ANIMAL OR UTENSILS TO HIS NEIGHBOUR, AND THEY ARE STOLEN OR LOST, AND HE [THE BAILEE] PAYS [FOR THEM], DECLINING TO SWEAR (SINCE IT WAS RULED THAT A GRATUITOUS BAILEE MAY SWEAR AND BE QUIT); THE THIEF, IF HE IS FOUND, MUST RENDER DOUBLE, AND IF HE HAS SLAUGHTERED OR SOLD [THE ANIMAL], HE MUST REPAY FOURFOLD OR FIVEFOLD.12 TO WHOM MUST HE PAY IT? TO HIM WITH WHOM THE BAILMENT WAS DEPOSITED.13 IF HE SWEARS, NOT WISHING TO PAY, THE THIEF, IF FOUND, MUST REPAY DOUBLE, AND IF HE HAS SLAUGHTERED OR SOLD [THE ANIMAL], MUST REPAY FOURFOLD OR FIVEFOLD. TO WHOM MUST HE PAY IT? TO THE BAILOR.
GEMARA. Why must he state both ANIMAL and UTENSILS? — They are necessary. For if ANIMAL [alone] were stated, I might have said that only in the case of an animal does he [the bailor] make over the double repayment to him,14 because it requires considerable attention, to be led in and out [of its stable]. But as for utensils, which do not require much attention, I might think that he does not make over the twofold repayment to him.15 And if UTENSILS [alone] were stated, I might have argued that only in the case of utensils does he [the bailor] make over the twofold repayment to him, because their multiplication is not great.16 But in the case of an animal, for which, if slaughtered or sold, he [the thief] must repay fourfold or fivefold, I might think that he [the bailor] does not make over the multiplied principal to him. Hence both are necessary.
Rami b. Hama objected: But one cannot transfer that which is non-existent!17 And even according to R. Meir, who maintained, One can transfer that which is non-existent, — that is only in the case of, e.g.. the fruit of a palm tree, which will naturally come [into existence].18 But here,
- To Next Folio -