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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
so that a woman who becomes niddah during sexual intercourse does not require a ritual ablution, but an ordinary ba'al keri does require ritual ablution! — Read [in the Mishnah] not: [R. JUDAH SAYS,] HE SAYS THE BLESSING, but 'He says mentally'. But does R. Judah [in any case] prescribe saying mentally? Has it not been taught: A ba'al keri who has no water for a ritual ablution recites the Shema' without saying a blessing either before or after, and he eats bread and says a blessing after it. He does not, however, say a blessing before it, but says it mentally without uttering it with his lips. So R. Meir. R. Judah says: In either case he utters it with his lips? — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: R. Judah put it on the same footing as the halachoth of Derek Erez,1 as it has been taught: 'And thou shalt make them known to thy children and thy children's children', and it is written immediately afterwards, 'The day on which thou didst stand before the Lord thy God in Horeb'. Just as there it was in dread and fear and trembling and quaking, so in this case too2 it must be in dread and fear and trembling and quaking. On the basis of this they laid down that sufferers from gonorrhoea, lepers, and those who had intercourse with niddoth are permitted to read the Torah, the Prophets and the Hagiographa, and to study the Mishnah, [Midrash]3 the Talmud,4 halachoth and haggadoth, but a ba'al keri is forbidden.5 R. Jose said: He may repeat those with which he is familiar, so long as he does not expound the Mishnah. R. Jonathan b. Joseph said: He may expound the Mishnah but he must not expound the Talmud.6 R. Nathan b. Abishalom says: He may expound the Talmud also, provided only he does not mention the divine names that occur7 in it. R. Johanan the sandal-maker, the disciple of R. Akiba, said in the name of R. Akiba: He should not enter upon the Midrash at all. (Some read, he should not enter the Beth Ha-midrash at all.) R. Judah says: He may repeat the laws of Derek Erez.8 Once R. Judah after having had a seminal issue was walking along a river bank, and his disciples said to him, Master repeat to us a section from the laws of Derek Erez, and he went down and bathed and then repeated to them. They said to him: Have you not taught us, Master, 'He may repeat the laws of Derek Erez'? He replied: Although I make concessions to others, I am strict with myself.
It has been taught: R. Judah b. Bathyra used to say: Words of Torah are not susceptible of uncleanness. Once a certain disciple was mumbling over against R. Judah b. Bathyra.9 He said to him: My son, open thy mouth and let thy words be clear, for words of Torah are not susceptible to uncleanness, as it says, Is not My word like as fire.10 Just as fire is not susceptible of uncleanness, so words of Torah are not susceptible of uncleanness.
The Master said: He may expound the Mishnah, but he must not expound the Talmud. This supports R. Ila'i; for R. Ila'i said in the name of R. Aha b. Jacob, who gave it in the name of our Master:11 The halachah is that he may expound the Mishnah but he must not expound the Talmud. The same difference of opinion is found among Tannaim. 'He may expound the Mishnah but he must not expound the Talmud'. So R. Meir. R. Judah b. Gamaliel says in the name of R. Hanina b. Gamaliel: Both are forbidden. Others report him as having said: Both are permitted. The one who reports 'Both are forbidden' concurs with R. Johanan the sandal-maker; the one who reports, 'both are permitted' concurs with R. Judah b. Bathyra.
R. Nahman b. Isaac said: It has become the custom12 to follow these three elders, R. Ila'i in the matter of the first shearing,13 R. Josiah in the matter of mixed kinds, and R. Judah b. Bathyra in the matter of words of Torah. 'R. Ila'i in the matter of the first shearing', as it has been taught: R. Ila'i says: The rule of the first shearing applies only in Palestine. 'R. Josiah in the matter of mixed kinds', as it is written, Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seeds.14 R. Josiah says: The law has not been broken until one sows wheat, barley and grape kernels with one throw.15 'R. Judah b. Bathyra in the matter of words of Torah,' as it has been taught: R. Judah b. Bathyra says: Words of Torah are not susceptible of uncleanness. When Ze'iri came [from Palestine]. he said: They have abolished the ritual ablution. Some report him to have said: They have abolished the washing of hands. The one who reports 'they have abolished the ritual ablution' concurs with R. Judah b. Bathyra. The one who reports 'they have abolished the washing of hands' is in accord with R. Hisda, who cursed anyone who went looking for water at the hour of prayer.16
Our Rabbis taught: A ba'al keri on whom nine kabs17 of water have been thrown is clean. Nahum a man of Gimzu18 whispered it to R. Akiba, and R. Akiba whispered it to Ben 'Azzai, and Ben 'Azzai went forth and repeated it to the disciples in public. Two Amoraim in the West differed in regard to this, R. Jose b. Abin and R. Jose b. Zebida. One stated: He repeated it, and one taught, He whispered it. The one who taught 'he repeated it' held that the reason [for the concession] was to prevent neglect of the Torah and of procreation. The one who taught 'he whispered it' thought that the reason was in order that scholars might not always be with their wives like cocks.19
R. Jannai said: I have heard of some who are lenient in this matter,20 and I have heard of some who are strict in it;21 and if anyone is strict with himself in regard to it, his days and years are prolonged.
R. Joshua b. Levi said: What is the sense of those who bathe in the morning? [He asks], What is the sense! Why, it was he himself who said that a ba'al keri is forbidden [to occupy himself] with the words of the Torah! What he meant is this: What is the sense of bathing in forty se'ahs22 when one can make shift with nine kabs? What is the sense of going right in when throwing the water over one is sufficient? R. Hanina said: They put up a very valuable fence by this,23 as it has been taught: Once a man enticed a woman to commit an offence and she said to him: Vagabond,24 have you forty se'ahs to bathe in, and he at once desisted. Said R. Huna to the disciples: My masters, why do you make so light of this bathing? Is it because of the cold? You can use the baths! Said R. Hisda to him: Can ablution be performed in hot baths? — He replied: R. Adda b. Ahabah is of the same opinion as you. R. Ze'ira used to sit in a tub of water in the baths and say to his servant, Go and fetch nine kabs and throw over me. R. Hiyya b. Abba said to him: Why, sir, do you take this trouble, seeing that you are sitting in [that quantity of] water? — He replied: The nine kabs must be like the forty se'ahs: just as the forty se'ahs are for immersion and not for throwing, so the nine kabs are for throwing and not for immersion. R. Nahman prepared an ewer holding nine kabs.25 When R. Dimi came, he reported that R. Akiba and R. Judah Glostera26 had said: The rule,27 was laid down only for a sick person who has an emission involuntarily, but for a sick person who has a voluntary emission28 forty se'ahs [are required]. Said R. Joseph: R. Nahman's ewer was broken.29 When Rabin came, he said: The thing took place in Usha
in the anteroom of R. Oshaia. They came and asked R. Assi, and he said to them, This rule was laid down only for a sick person whose emission is voluntary, but a sick person whose emission is involuntary requires nothing at all. Said R. Joseph: R. Nahman's ewer has been repaired again.1
Let us see! The dispute between all these Tannaim and Amoraim is as to the ordinance of Ezra. Let us see then what Ezra did ordain! Abaye said: Ezra ordained that a healthy man whose emission is voluntary must immerse in forty se'ahs, and a healthy man whose emission is involuntary must use nine kabs, and the Amoraim came and differed over the sick person.2 One held that a sick person whose emission is voluntary is on the same footing as a healthy person whose emission is voluntary, and a sick person whose emission is involuntary as a healthy person whose emission is involuntary; while the other held that a sick person whose emission is voluntary is on the same footing as a healthy person whose emission is involuntary and a sick person whose emission is involuntary requires nothing at all. Raba said: Granted that Ezra ordained immersion, did he ordain throwing? Has not a master said: Ezra ordained immersion for persons who have had a seminal emission? Rather, said Raba, Ezra ordained for a healthy person whose emission is voluntary forty se'ahs, and the Rabbis [after Ezra] came and ordained for a healthy person whose emission is involuntary nine kabs. and the [Tannaim and]3 Amoraim came and differed with regard to a sick person,4 one holding that a sick person whose emission is voluntary is on the same footing as a healthy person whose emission is voluntary and a sick person whose emission is involuntary as a healthy person whose emission is involuntary, while the other held that a healthy person whose emission is voluntary requires forty se'ahs and a sick person whose emission is voluntary is on the same footing as a healthy person whose emission is involuntary and requires nine kabs, while a sick person whose emission is involuntary requires nothing at all. Raba said: The law is that a healthy person whose emission is voluntary and a sick person whose emission is voluntary require forty se'ahs, a healthy person whose emission is involuntary requires nine kabs, and a sick person whose emission is involuntary requires nothing at all.5
Our Rabbis taught: A ba'al keri over whom nine kabs of water have been thrown is clean. When is this the case? When it is for himself;6 but when it is for others,7 he requires forty se'ahs. R. Judah says: Forty se'ahs in all cases. R. Johanan and R. Joshua b. Levi and R. Eleazar and R. Jose son of R. Hanina [made pronouncements]. One of the first pair and one of the second pair dealt with the first clause of this statement. One said: This statement of yours, 'When is this the case? When it is for himself, but for others he requires forty se'ahs', was meant to apply only to a sick person whose emission is voluntary, but for a sick person whose emission is involuntary nine kabs are enough. The other said: Wherever it is for others, even if he is a sick person whose emission is involuntary, there must be forty se'ahs. One of the first pair and one of the second pair differed as to the second clause of the statement. One said: When R. Judah said that 'forty se'ahs are required in all cases', he was speaking only of water in the ground,8 but not in vessels. The other said: Even in vessels. On the view of the one who says 'even in vessels', there is no difficulty, that is why R. Judah taught: 'Forty se'ahs in all cases'. But on the view of the one who says 'in the ground, yes, in vessels, no', what is added by the words 'in all cases'? — They add drawn water.9
R. Papa and R. Huna the son of R. Joshua and Raba b. Samuel were taking a meal together. Said R. Papa to them: Allow me to say the grace [on your behalf] because nine kabs of water have been thrown on me. Said Raba b. Samuel to them: We have learnt: When is this the case? When it is for himself; but if it is for others, forty se'ahs are required. Rather let me say the grace, since forty se'ahs have been thrown on me. Said R. Huna to them: Let me say the grace since I have had neither the one nor the other on me.10 R. Hama bathed on the eve of Passover in order [that he might be qualified] to do duty on behalf of the public,11 but the law is not as stated by him. 12
MISHNAH. IF A MAN WAS STANDING SAYING THE TEFILLAH AND HE REMEMBERS THAT HE IS A BA'AL KERI, HE SHOULD NOT BREAK OFF BUT HE SHOULD SHORTEN [THE BENEDICTIONS].13 IF HE WENT DOWN TO IMMERSE HIMSELF, IF HE IS ABLE TO COME UP AND COVER HIMSELF AND RECITE THE SHEMA' BEFORE THE RISING OF THE SUN, HE SHOULD GO UP AND COVER HIMSELF AND RECITE, BUT IF NOT HE SHOULD COVER HIMSELF WITH THE WATER AND RECITE. HE SHOULD, HOWEVER, NOT COVER HIMSELF EITHER WITH FOUL WATER14 OR WITH WATER IN WHICH SOMETHING15 HAS BEEN STEEPED UNTIL HE POURS FRESH WATER INTO IT. HOW FAR SHOULD HE REMOVE HIMSELF FROM IT14 AND FROM EXCREMENT? FOUR CUBITS.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: If a man was standing saying the Tefillah and he remembered that he was a ba'al keri, he should not break off but shorten the benedictions. If a man was reading the Torah and remembered that he was a ba'al keri, he should not break off and leave it but should go on reading in a mumbling tone. R. Meir said: A ba'al keri is not permitted to read more than three verses in the Torah. Another [Baraitha] taught: If a man was standing saying the Tefillah and he saw excrement in front of him, he should go forward until he has it four cubits behind him. But it has been taught: He should move to the side? — There is no contradiction; one statement speaks of where it is possible for him [to go forward], the other of where it is not possible.16 If he was praying and he discovered some excrement where he was standing, Rabbah says, even though he has sinned,17 his prayer is a valid one. Raba demurred to this, citing the text, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination?18 No, said Raba: Since he has sinned, although he said the Tefillah, his prayer is an abomination.
Our Rabbis taught: If a man was standing saying the Tefillah and water drips over his knees, he should break off until the water stops and then resume his Tefillah. At what point should he resume? — R. Hisda and R. Hamnuna gave different replies. One said that he should go back to the beginning, the other said, to the place where he halted. May we say that the ground of their difference is this,
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