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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
Rabbi's opinion is reflected in what has been said; that he reads yarshi'un.
The opinion of R. Judah b. Ro'ez is given in the following: For it has been taught: The disciples of R. Judah b. Ro'ez asked him: Why not read shibe'im [seventy] instead of shebu'ayim [two weeks]4 [extending the period of uncleanliness to seventy days]? He answered: The law has fixed the period of purity and impurity in the case of a male child and it has fixed the period of purity and impurity in case of a female child. Just as the period of purification after the birth of a female child is double that after the birth of a male child, so must the period of uncleanness after the birth of a female child be no more than double that after the birth of a male child [which is only seven days]. After they left him he sought them out again and said 'You have no need of that explanation since Mikra is determinant, and we read shebu'ayim [two weeks].
The opinion of the Shammaites is advanced in the following [Mishnah]: For we learned:5 Beth Shammai said: If the blood of sacrifices that is to be sprinkled on the outer altar was applied only once,6 the offering is valid, as it is said, the blood of thy sacrifice shall be poured out7 [denoting one application]. In the case of a sin offering, however, they hold that two applications are required; but the Hillelites hold that in the case of a sin offering also a single sprinkling effects atonement. And R. Huna said: What is the Shammaites' reason for their opinion? — It is that the plural 'karnoth' [horns of the altar] occurs three times in this context8 denoting six, and so implying that four sprinklings are prescribed in the first instance, but that two are indispensable. But the Hillelites argue that since 'karnoth'9 is twice written defectively, and can be read 'karnath'10 [singular], only four sprinklings are implied, three being prescribed in the first instance, and that only one is indispensable. But why not argue that all the four are merely prescribed without a single one being indispensable? — We do not find an act of expiation effected without an accompanying rite.
R. Simeon's opinion is expressed in the following [Baraitha]: It has been taught:11 A Sukkah12 needs at least two walls of the prescribed dimensions and a third of the width of at least a hand-breadth. R. Simeon says; Three complete walls and the fourth the width of a hand-breadth. What is really their point of dispute? — The Rabbis13 hold that Masorah14 is determinant in Biblical exegesis, while R. Simeon holds that Mikra is determinant. The Rabbis, taking the former view, argue that as the word 'bassukoth' which occurs three times15 is written once plene [in the plural] and twice defectively16 making in all four references. So, subtracting one as required for the command itself, there are three left. Next comes the Sinaitic Halachah17 and diminishes the third and fixes it at a hand-breadth. But R. Simeon is of the opinion that Mikra is determinant and thus all the three bassukkoth are to be read in the plural, making a total of six. One of these is required for the command itself, leaving four, and the fourth is diminished in virtue of the Sinaitic Halachah, to a handbreadth.
As to R. Akiba's opinion — it has been taught:18 R. Akiba said: Whence is it deduced that a fourth of a log19 of blood which issues front two corpses carries uncleanness according to the law relating to the pollution of tents.20 It is said: He shall not go in unto any dead body.21 [The plural nafshoth translated 'body' indicates that] even from two bodies a single [vital] quantity suffices to carry uncleanness; but the Rabbis argue that it is written nafshath [singular], [denoting that a vital quantity can defile only if it issues from one corpse].
R. Aha b. Jacob questioned this statement of R. Isaac b. Joseph — Is there no one [apart from those above mentioned] who does not accept the Mikra as determinant? Has it not been taught: Thou shalt not seethe a kid in the milk of [bahaleb]22 its mother23 in which verse you might read beheleb24 [in the fat of]?
1 — Hence all agree that Mikra is determinant, but Rabbi and the Rabbis2 differ in the following: Rabbi holds that the plural yarshi'un3 refers to two judges [elohim] other than those prescribed in the previous verse;4 while the Rabbis maintain that it refers to elohim here [its own subject] and to that in the previous clause.5
As to R. Judah b. Ro'ez, the Rabbis do not oppose him.6
As for the Hillelites, they derive their ruling7 from the following: For it has been taught: wekipper8 has to be repeated three times [in connection with the sin offering]9 to indicate that even one application is adequate, contrary to an analogy which might otherwise be advanced in favour of the need of four applications. But could we not have deduced this by [the following] analogy? The use of blood is mentioned [for application] above the line;10 and the use of blood is mentioned [for application] below the line.11 Just as in the case of the blood to be applied below the line, one application effects atonement,12 so should it be with the blood to be applied above the line.
But you may argue this way: Sprinkling is prescribed for sacrifices offered on the outer altar13 and also for those offered on the inner altar.14 As in the case of those offered on the inner altar, expiation is not effected if one application has been omitted, so should it be with sacrifices offered on the outer altar!
Let us, however, see to which it is to be compared. Comparisons may be made between sacrifices offered on [the same] the outer altar, but not between sacrifices offered on the outer and inner altars.15
But may you not, on the other hand, argue in this way? We can compare sin offerings, the blood of which is applied on the four horns of the altar,16 to other sin offerings, the blood of which is applied on the four horns,17 but no proof can be deduced from such a sacrifice as is neither a sin offering nor has the blood sprinkled on the four horns of the altar!18 Hence on account of this latter analogy, Wekipper has to be repeated three times, to indicate that atonement is effected by means of three sprinklings, or even by means of two, or indeed even by means of one alone.
Now as to R. Simeon and the Rabbis, their real point of difference is the following: R. Simeon holds that a cover for a Sukkah needs no textual basis,19 while the Rabbis maintain that a special textual basis is necessary for a cover.20
But do all, indeed, regard the Mikra as determinant? Has it not been taught: 'letotafoth [frontlets] occurs thrice in the Torah, twice defective and once plene,23 four in all, to indicate [that four sections are to be inserted in the phylacteries]. Such is the opinion of R. Ishmael. But R. Akiba maintains that there is no need of that interpretation, for the word totafoth itself implies four, [it being composed of] tot which means two in Katpi24 and foth which means two in Afriki?25 — Hence, in reality, it is disputable whether Mikra is always determinant in Biblical exegesis, but this is true only of cases where Mikra and Masorah differ in the spelling of a word.26 But where-as for example, in the case of the milk — the reading behaleb involves no change in the spelling,27 Mikra is determinant. But does not the text, Three times in the year all thy males shall appear [shall be seen] before the Lord28, occasion a dispute whether we shall follow the Mikra [yera'eh]29 or read yir'eh30 according to Masorah?31 For it has been taught: R. Johanan b. Dahabai said on behalf of R. Judah b. Tema: One who is blind in one eye is exempted from visiting the Temple, for we read YR'H32 which according to Mikra means he shall be seen and according to Masorah, he shall see. That is to say, as He comes to see the worshipper, so should man come to be seen by Him; as He [the Lord] comes to see [so to speak] with both eyes.33 so should he, who comes to be seen by Him, come with both eyes!34 Hence, says R. Aha, the son of R. Ika: The scriptural text says. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk. It is seething, as a method of cooking, that the law forbids.35
Our Rabbis taught: Monetary cases are decided by three;
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