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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma
for if this was not its intention, Scripture should have inserted [the expression] 'his neighbour' in the text dealing with Mu'ad.1
WHERE AN OX BELONGING TO AN ISRAELITE HAS GORED AN OX BELONGING TO A CANAANITE THERE IS NO LIABILITY etc. But I might here assert that you are on the horns of a dilemma. If the implication of 'his neighbour' has to be insisted upon, then in the case of an ox of a Canaanite goring an ox of an Israelite, should there also not be exemption? If [on the other hand] the implication of 'his neighbour' has not to be insisted upon, why then even in the case of an ox of an Israelite goring an ox of a Canaanite, should there not be liability? — R Abbahu thereupon said: The Writ says, He stood and measured the earth; he beheld and drove asunder the nations,2 [which may be taken to imply that] God beheld the seven commandments3 which were accepted by all the descendants of Noah, but since they did not observe them, He rose up and declared them to be outside the protection of the civil law of Israel [with reference to damage done to cattle by cattle].4 R. Johanan even said that the same could be inferred from this [verse], He shined forth from Mount Paran,5 [implying that] from Paran6 He exposed their money to Israel. The same has been taught as follows: If the ox of an Israelite gores an ox of a Canaanite there is no liability,7 but if an ox of a Canaanite gores an ox of an Israelite whether the ox [that did the damage] was Tam or whether it had already been Mu 'ad, the payment is to be in full, as it is said: He stood and measured the earth, he beheld and drove asunder the nations,2 and again, He shined forth from Mount Paran.5 Why this further citation? — [Otherwise] you might perhaps think that the verse 'He stood and measured the earth' refers exclusively to statements [on other subjects] made by R. Mattena and by R. Joseph; come therefore and hear: 'He shined forth from Mount Paran,' implying that from Paran8 he exposed their money to Israel.
What was the statement made by R. Mattena [referred to above]? — It was this. R. Mattena said: He stood and measured the earth; He beheld etc.9 What did He behold? He beheld the seven commandments10 which were accepted by all the descendants of Noah, and since [there were some clans that] rejected them, He rose up and exiled them from their lands.11 But how can the word in the text12 be [etymologically] explained to mean 'exile'? — Here it is written '"wa-yatter" the nations' and in another place it is [similarly] written, '"le-natter" withal upon the earth,'13 which is rendered in the Targum14 'to leap withal upon the earth'.
What was the statement made by R. Joseph [referred to above]? — It was this. R. Joseph said: 'He stood and measured the earth; he beheld' etc. What did He behold? He beheld the seven commandments which had been accepted by all the descendants of Noah, and since [there were clans that] rejected them He rose up and granted them exemption. Does this mean that they benefited [by breaking the law]? And if so, will it not be a case of a sinner profiting [by the transgression he committed]? — Mar the son of Rabana15 thereupon said: 'It only means that even were they to keep the seven commandments [which had first been accepted but subsequently rejected by them] they would receive no reward.' Would they not? But it has been taught:16 'R. Meir used to say, Whence can we learn that even where a Gentile occupies himself with the study of the Torah he equals [in status] the High Priest? We find it stated: … which if a man do he shall live in them;17 it does not say "priests, Levites and Israelites", but "a man", which shows that even if a Gentile occupies himself with the study of the Torah he equals [in status] the High Priest.' — I mean [in saying that they would receive no reward] that they will receive reward not like those who having been enjoined perform commandments, but like those who not having been enjoined perform good deeds: for R. Hanina has stated:18 Greater is the reward of those who having been enjoined do good deeds than of those who not having been enjoined [but merely out of free will] do good deeds.19
Our Rabbis taught: The Government of Rome had long ago sent two commissioners to the Sages of Israel with a request to teach them the Torah. It was accordingly read to them once, twice and thrice. Before taking leave they made the following remark: We have gone carefully through your Torah, and found it correct with the exception of this point, viz. your saying that if an ox of an Israelite gores an ox of a Canaanite there is no liability,20 whereas if the ox of a Canaanite gores the ox of an Israelite, whether Tam or Mu 'ad, compensation has to be paid in full. In no case can this he right. For if the implication of 'his neighbour' has to be insisted upon, why then in the case of an ox of a Canaanite goring an ox of an Israelite should there also not be exemption? If [on the other hand] the implication of 'his neighbour' has not to be insisted upon, why then even in the case of an ox of an Israelite goring an ox of a Canaanite, should there not be liability? We will, however, not report this matter to our Government.21
When R. Samuel b. Judah lost a dauther the Rabbis22 said to 'Ulla: 'Let us go in and console him.' But he answered them: 'What have I to do with the consolation of the Babylonians,22 which is [almost tantamount to] blasphemy? For they say "What could have been done," which implies that were it possible to do anything they would have done it.' He therefore went alone to the mourner and said to him: [Scripture says,] And the Lord spake unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle.23 Now [we may well ask], could it have entered the mind of Moses to wage war without [divine] sanction? [We must suppose] therefore that Moses of himself reasoned a fortiori as follows: If in the case of the Midianites who came only to assist the Moabites24 the Torah commanded 'Vex the Midianites and smite them,'25
Baba Kamma 38b
in the case of the Moabites [themselves] should not the same injunction apply even more strongly? But the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: The idea you have in your mind is not the idea I have in My mind. Two doves have I to bring forth from them;1 Ruth the Moabitess and Naamah the Ammonitess. Now cannot we base on this an a fortiori argument as follows: If for the sake of two virtuous descendants the Holy One, blessed be He, showed pity to two great nations so that they were not destroyed, may we not be assured that if your honour's daughter had indeed been righteous and worthy to have goodly issue, she would have continued to live?
R. Hiyya B. Abba said that R. Johanan had stated:2 The Holy One, blessed be He, does not deprive any creature of any reward due to it, even if only for a becoming expression: for in the case of the [descendants of the] elder [daughter]3 who named her son 'Moab',4 the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle, [implying that] while actual hostilities against them were forbidden, requisitioning from them was allowed, whereas in the case of the younger [daughter]3 who called her son 'Ben Ammi',5 the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them at all,6 thus implying that they were not to be subjected even to requisitioning.
R. Hiyya B. Abba further said that R. Joshua b. Korha had stated:7 At all times should a man try to be first in the performance of a good deed, as on account of the one night by which the elder [daughter]8 preceded the younger she preceded her by four generations [in having a descendant] in Israel: Obed, Jesse, David and Solomon.9 For the younger [had no descendant in Israel] until [the advent of] Rehoboam, as it is written: And the name of his mother was Naamah the Ammonitess.10
Our Rabbis taught: If cattle of an Israelite has gored cattle belonging to a Cuthean11 there is no liability. But where cattle belonging to a Cuthean gored cattle belonging to an Israelite, in the case of Tam the payment will be for half the damage, whereas in the case of Mu'ad the payment will be in full. R. Meir, however, says: Where cattle belonging to an Israelite gored cattle belonging to a Cuthean there is no liability, whereas in the case of cattle belonging to an Israelite, whether in the case of Tam or in that of Mu'ad, the compensation is to be in full. Does this mean to say that R. Meir maintains that the Cutheans were lion-proselytes?12 But if [so], an objection would be raised [from the following]:13 All kinds of stains [found on women's underwear] brought from Rekem14 are [levitically] clean.15 But R. Judah considers them unclean, as the inhabitants [of that place] are mainly proselytes16 who are in error;17 from among Gentiles18 they are considered clean. But [where they were brought] from among Israelites19 or from Cutheans [after having been obtained from private places all agree in declaring them unclean.20 But where they were brought from Cutheans who had already abandoned them to the public at large]21 R. Meir considers them unclean,22 whereas the Sages consider them clean, for [even] they23 were not suspected of being lax in [the exposing of women's stained underwear]. Now does this not prove that R. Meir was of the opinion that Cutheans were true proselytes? — R. Abbahu thereupon said: This was only a pecuniary disability that R. Meir24 imposed upon them, so that [Israelites] should not intermingle with them.
R. Zera raised an objection [from the following]: These are the damsels through whom the fine25 is imposed: If a man has connexion with a girl that is a bastard,26 a Nethinah27 or a Cuthean.28 Now if you maintain that R. Meir imposed a pecuniary disability on them, why then not impose it in this case too,29 so that [Israelites] should not mix with them? Abaye thereupon said:
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