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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth

Folio 47a

or in the washing of the greasy hands [at the end of a meal]. Once Rabin and Abaye were on the road and the ass of Rabin got in front of Abaye, and he [Rabin] did not say to him, Will your honour proceed. Said Abaye: Since this student has come up from the West,1  he has grown proud. When he arrived at the door of the synagogue, he said, Will your honour please enter. He said to him: Was I not 'Your honour', up to now? — He replied: Thus said R. Johanan: One gives precedence only in a doorway in which there is a mezuzah.2  [You say] only where there is a mezuzah, but not where there is no mezuzah. If that is so, then in the case of a synagogue and Beth hamidrash also where there is no mezuzah we do not give precedence? What you must say is, in a doorway which is suitable for a mezuzah.3

R. Judah the son of R. Samuel b. Shilath said in the name of Rab: The guests may not eat anything until the one who breaks bread has tasted. R. Safra sat and stated: The statement was, 'May not taste'.4  What difference does it make [in practice]? — [It teaches that] one must repeat the exact words of his teacher.

Our Rabbis taught: Two wait for one another5  before commencing on the dish,6  but three need not wait.7  The one who has broken bread stretches out his hand first, but if he wishes to show respect to his teacher or to anyone senior to himself, he may do so. Rabbah b. Bar Hanah made a marriage feast for his son in the house of R. Samuel son of R. Kattina, and he first sat down and taught his son: The one who acts as host8  may not break the bread until the guests have finished responding, Amen. R. Hisda said: The bulk of the guests. Rama b. Hama said to him: Why should this be the case only with the majority? Presumably it is because the benediction had not yet been completed.9  The same should apply also to a minority, for the benediction has not yet been completed? — He replied: What I say is that whoever [draws out] the response of Amen longer than necessary is in error.10

Our Rabbis taught: The Amen uttered in response should be neither hurried11  nor curtailed12  nor orphaned,13  nor should one hurl the blessing, as it were, out of his mouth.14  Ben 'Azzai says: If a man says an 'orphaned' Amen in response, his sons will be orphans; if a hurried Amen, his days will be snatched away; if a curtailed Amen, his days will be curtailed. But if one draws out the Amen, his days and years will be prolonged. Once Rab and Samuel were sitting at a meal and R. Shimi b. Hiyya joined them and ate very hurriedly.15  Said Rab to him: What do you want? To join us? We have already finished. Said Samuel to him: If they were to bring me mushrooms, and pigeon to Abba,16  would we not go on eating?17  The disciples of Rab were once dining together when R. Aha entered. They said: A great man has come who can say grace for us. He said to them: Do you think that the greatest present says the grace? One who was there from the beginning must say grace! The law, however, is that the greatest says grace even though he comes in at the end.

ONE WHO HAD EATEN DEMAI etc. But this is not a proper food for him?18  — If he likes he can declare his possessions hefker19  in which case he becomes a poor man, and it is suitable for him. For we have learnt: Demai may be given to the poor to ear and also to billeted soldiers.20  And R. Huna said: A Tanna taught: Beth Shammai say that demai is not given to the poor and to billeted soldiers to eat.21

OR FIRST TITHE FROM WHICH TERUMAH HAS BEEN REMOVED. This is obvious! — This had to be stated, for the case in which the Levite came beforehand [and thus obtained the first tithe] in the ear and he separated the terumah of the tithe,22  but not the great terumah.23  And the rule stated follows R. Abbahu; for R. Abbahu said in the name of Resh Lakish: First tithe for which [the Levite] has come beforehand [and obtained] in the ear is not liable to great terumah, since it says, ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.24  I bid you offer a tithe from the tithe, not the great terumah plus the terumah of the tithe from the tithe. Said R. Papa to Abaye: If that is so, the same should be the case even if he anticipates it at the heap?25  — He replied: It was in anticipation of your question that the text says,

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Palestine.
  2. V. Glos.
  3. Excluding open roads and bridges.
  4. And not 'may not eat'.
  5. When one interrupts his eating, the other must wait till he resumes. This was according to the old custom when all diners ate from the same dish.
  6. After breaking bread, it was the custom for each of the guests to take something out of the dish.
  7. If one interrupts his eating.
  8. Who in this case would be the bridegroom. Lit., 'he who breaks (the bread)'.
  9. As long as the Amen response had not been finished.
  10. And the minority who unduly prolong the Amen response need not be taken into consideration.
  11. I.e., the A should not be slurred over.
  12. The N should be clearly pronounced.
  13. Said by one who has not heard the blessing itself but only the others responding Amen.
  14. He should not gabble it.
  15. So as to be able to join them in the grace.
  16. A name of endearment given by Samuel to Rab.
  17. As dessert, these being our favourite dishes. Therefore it is as though we had not finished and he may join us.
  18. Sc. and it is as though he ate stolen property, over which it is forbidden to make a blessing.
  19. V. Glos.
  20. Dem. III, 1.
  21. I.e., it is only Beth Shammai who provided demai to the poor but Beth Hillel, with whom the law agrees, differ from them.
  22. The tithe given by the Levite to the priest.
  23. The ordinary terumah, (v. Glos. s.v. terumah).
  24. Num. XVIII, 26.
  25. The grain after winnowing, but before being ground.
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Berakoth 47b

Out of all your tithes ye shall offer.1  But still what reason have you [for including corn in the ear and not grain]? — One has been turned into corn the other has not.2

SECOND TITHE OR FOOD BELONGING TO THE SANCTUARY THAT HAS BEEN REDEEMED. This is obvious! — We are dealing here with a case where, for instance, he has given the principal but not the additional fifth;3  and he teaches us here that the fact that the fifth has not been given is no obstacle.4

OR IF AN ATTENDANT WHO HAS EATEN AS MUCH AS AN OLIVE etc. This is obvious! — You might object that the attendant does not sit through the meal.5  This teaches, therefore, [that this is no objection].

A CUTHEAN MAY BE INCLUDED [IN THE THREE]. Why so? Wherein is he better than an 'am ha-arez, and it has been taught: An 'am ha-arez is not reckoned in for zimmun? — Abaye replied: It refers to a Cuthean who is a haber. Raba said: You may even take it to refer to a Cuthean who is an 'am ha-arez, the passage cited referring to an 'am ha-arez as defined by the Rabbis who join issue in this matter with R. Meir. For it has been taught: Who is an 'am ha-arez6  Anyone who does not eat non-sacred food in ritual cleanness. So R. Meir. The Rabbis, however, say: Anyone who does not tithe his produce in the proper way. Now these cutheans do tithe their produce in the proper way, since they are very scrupulous about any injunction written in the Torah; for a Master has said: Whenever the Cutheans have adopted a mizwah, they are much more particular with it than the Jews.6

Our Rabbis taught: Who is an 'am ha-arez6  Anyone who does not recite the Shema' evening and morning. This is the view of R. Eliezer. R. Joshua says: Anyone who does not put on tefillin. Ben 'Azzai says: Anyone who has not a fringe on his garment. R. Nathan says: Anyone who has not a mezuzah on his door. R. Nathan b. Joseph says: Anyone who has sons and does not bring them up to the study of the Torah. Others say: Even if one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah, if he has not ministered to the disciples of the wise,7  he is an 'am ha-arez. R. Huna said: The halachah is as laid down by 'Others'.

Rami b. Hama refused to count to zimmun R. Menashiah b. Tahalifa who could repeat Sifra,8  Sifre,9  and halachah. When Rami b. Hama died, Raba said: Rami b. Hama died only because he would not count R. Menashiah b. Tahalifa for zimmun. But it has been taught: Others say that even if one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but has not ministered to the disciples of the wise, he is an 'am ha-arez? — R. Menashiah b. Tahalifa was different because he used to minister to the Rabbis, and it was Rami b. Hama who did not make proper inquiries about him. According to another version, he used to hear discussions from the mouth of the Rabbis and commit them to memory. and he was therefore like a Rabbinical scholar.

ONE WHO HAS EATEN TEBEL AND FIRST TITHE etc. In the case of tebel this is obvious! — It required to be stated for the case of that which is tebel only by the ordinance of the Rabbis. What for instance? Food grown in a pot without a hole in the bottom.10

FIRST TITHE etc. This is obvious! — It required to be stated for the case where [the Levite] anticipated [the priest] at the heap. You might think that the law is as indicated by R. Papa's question to Abaye;11  this teaches that it is as indicated by the latter's answer.

SECOND TITHE etc. This is obvious! — It is required for the case in which the tithe etc., has been redeemed, but not properly redeemed. Second tithe, for instance, if it has been redeemed for

bar silver,12  since the All-Merciful said; Thou shalt bind up [we-zarta] the silver in thy hands,13  implying, silver on which a form [zurah] is stamped. As to FOOD BELONGING TO THE SANCTUARY, if for instance it has been rendered profane for its equivalent in land but has not been redeemed for money, whereas the All Merciful laid down, He shall give the money and it shall be assured unto him.14

OR THE ATTENDANT WHO HAS EATEN LESS THAN AN OLIVE. This is obvious! — Since the first clause states the rule for the quantity of an olive, the second clause states it for less than an olive.

A GENTILE MAY NOT BE COUNTED. This is obvious! — We are dealing here with the case of a proselyte who has been circumcised but has not yet made ablution. For R. Zera said in the name of R. Johanan: One does not become a proselyte until he has been circumcised and has performed ablution; and so long as he has not performed ablution he is a gentile.

WOMEN SLAVES AND CHILDREN ARE NOT COUNTED [IN THE THREE]. R. Jose said: An infant in the cradle may be counted for zimmun. But we have learnt: WOMEN SLAVES AND CHILDREN MAY NOT BE COUNTED? — He adopts the view of R. Joshua b. Levi. For R. Joshua b. Levi said: Although it was laid down that an infant in a cradle cannot be counted for zimmun, yet he can be counted to make up ten. R. Joshua b. Levi also said: Nine and a slave may be joined [to make up ten].15

The following was cited in objection: Once R. Eliezer entered a synagogue and not finding there ten he liberated his slave and used him to complete the ten. This was because he liberated him, otherwise he could not have done so? — He really required two, and he liberated one and one he used to make up the ten. But how could he act so seeing that Rab Judah has said: If one liberates his slave he transgresses a positive precept, since it says, they shall be your bondmen for ever?16  — If it is for a religious purpose. It is different. But this is a religious act which is carried out by means of a transgression? — A religious act which affects a whole company17  is different.

R. Joshua b. Levi also said: A man should always rise early to go to synagogue so that he may have the merit of being counted in the first ten; since if even a hundred come after him he receives the reward of all of them. 'The reward of all of them', say you? — Say rather: He is given a reward equal to that of all of them.

R. Huna said: Nine and the Ark join together [to be counted as ten]. Said R. Nahman to him: Is the Ark a man? I mean, said R. Huna, that when nine look like ten, they may be joined together. Some say [this means] when they are all close together,18  others say when they are scattered. R. Ammi said: Two and the Sabbath may be joined together. Said R. Nahman to him: Is the Sabbath a man? What R. Ammi really said was that two scholars who sharpen one another in the knowledge of the halachah may count as three [for zimmun].19  R. Hisda gave an example: For instance, I and R. Shesheth. R. Shesheth gave an example: For instance, I and R. Hisda.20

R. Johanan said: A boy [who has reached puberty] before his years21  may be counted for zimmun. It has been taught similarly: A boy who has grown two hairs may be counted for zimmun, but if he has not grown two hairs he may not be counted; and we are not particular about a boy. Now this seems to contain a contradiction. You first say that if he has grown two hairs he may count and if not he may not, and then you say, We are not particular with a boy. What case does this include? Is it not

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Num, XVIII, 29. The actual word in the text is 'gifts'.
  2. And it is only from what can be called 'corn' that terumah has to be given.
  3. Required for the redemption of second tithe or anything belonging to the Sanctuary.
  4. To render the redemption valid.
  5. He has always to be getting up to wait on the guests.
  6. Hence a Cuthean may be reckoned in.
  7. Rashi explains this to mean that he has not learnt Gemara, which explains the Mishnah.
  8. The Midrash on Leviticus.
  9. The Midrash on Deuteronomy.
  10. So that the earth in it is not in contact with the soil.
  11. V. supra 46b ad fin.
  12. I.e., silver not turned into current coin.
  13. Deut. XIV, 25.
  14. Lev. XXVII, 19. The exact words of the text are: he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy valuation unto it, and it shall be assured to him; v. B.M. (Sonc. ed.) p. 321, n. 1.
  15. For a congregational service which requires a minimum quorum of ten males over the age of thirteen.
  16. Lev. XXV, 46. V. Git. 38b.
  17. As in the case of R. Eliezer.
  18. In which case the absence of one is not so noticeable. The Ark is probably mentioned as being a focal point which enables us to determine whether the worshippers are close together or scattered.
  19. [H] is accordingly explained as an abbreviation for [H] (two) who study the Law; v. Goldschmidt.
  20. R. Shesheth and R. Hisda represented each a different type of scholar, the former's forte being an extensive knowledge of traditions, the latter's keen dialectical powers; v. 'Er. 67a.
  21. I.e., before reaching the age of thirteen years and one day.
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