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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
One may not chop up wood from planks,1 nor from a plank that is broken on a Festival?2 R. Johanan recited that as [the ruling of] R. Jose b. Judah.3 Come and hear: One may commence with a heap of straw [for fuel supplies] but not with the timber stored in the shed?4 — The reference there is to cedar and ashuhe5 planks, for in the case of mukzeh on account of monetary loss even R Simeon agrees.6
Come and hear: Pasture animals may not be watered and killed, but home animals may be watered and killed?7 — R. Johanan found another [opposing] anonymous [Mishnah]: Beth Shammai say: One may remove bones and nutshells from the table; but Beth Hillel rule: One must take away the whole board and shake it. Whereon R. Nahman said: As for us, we have no other [view] but that Beth Shammai agree with R. Judah, and Beth Hillel with R. Simeon.8
R. Aha and Rabina differ therein: One maintains: In all [discussions on] the Sabbath the halachah is as R. Simeon, save in mukzeh on account of repulsiveness: and what is that? An old lamp.9 While the other maintains: In respect of mukzeh on account of repulsiveness too the halachah is as R. Simeon, the exception being mukzeh on account of an interdict, and what is that? A lamp wherein a light had been lit on that self-same Sabbath.10 But in the case of mukzeh on account of monetary loss even R. Simeon agrees, for we learnt: All utensils may be handled on the Sabbath, except a large saw and the pin of a plough.11
MISHNAH. VOWS CAN BE ANNULLED BY A HUSBAND ON THE SABBATH, AND ABSOLUTION MAY BE GRANTED12 FOR VOWS WHEN THESE ARE NECESSARY FOR THE SABBATH. A SKYLIGHT MAY BE CLOSED UP,13 AND A RAG MAY BE MEASURED,14 AND A MIKWEH MAY BE MEASURED.15 AND IT ONCE HAPPENED IN THE DAYS OF R. ZADOK'S FATHER AND THE DAYS OF ABBA SAUL THE SON OF BOTNITH THAT THEY CLOSED UP THE WINDOW WITH A PITCHER AND TIED AN [EARTHENWARE] POT TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER THERE WAS THE OPENING OF A HANDBREADTH OR NOT IN THE BARREL.16 AND FROM THEIR WORDS WE LEARN THAT WE MAY CLOSE [A SKYLIGHT] AND MEASURE AND TIE ON THE SABBATH.
GEMARA. The scholars asked: Is annulment [permitted] whether it is required [for the Sabbath] or not, whereas absolution [may be granted] only when it is necessary, but not otherwise, and for that reason they are divided from each other;17 or perhaps annulment too [is permitted] only when it is necessary [for the Sabbath] but not otherwise; the reason that they are divided being that annulment does not require a Beth din, whereas absolution requires a Beth din?18 — Come and hear: For Zuti, of the School of R. Papa, recited: Vows may be annulled on the Sabbath when they are required for the Sabbath: thus, only when required for the Sabbath, but not otherwise.
Another version: The scholars asked: Does WHEN THESE ARE NECESSARY relate to both, but not when they are unnecessary. which proves that [for] the annulment of vows a period of twenty-four hours is given; or perhaps WHEN THESE ARE NECESSARY is stated in reference to absolution only, but the annulment of vows [is permitted] even when it is unnecessary, which proves that [for] the annulment of vows the whole day [only] is given?19 — Come and hear: For Zuti of the School of R. Papa recited: Vows may be annulled on the Sabbath when they are required for the Sabbath — Only 'when required for the Sabbath', but not otherwise, which proves that [for] the annulment of vows a period of twenty-four hours is given. Said R. Ashi, But we learnt: [The period allowed for] annulment of vows is the whole day: this may result in greater stringency or greater leniency.20 E.g., if she vows on Sabbath eve [Friday night], he can annul on the Sabbath eve and the Sabbath day; if she vows just before nightfall, he can annul only until the night, for if darkness falls and he has not annulled it, he can no longer do so? — It is dependent on Tannaim: [The period for] the annulling of vows is all day; R. Jose son of R. Judah and R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon maintain: Twenty-four hours.
AND ABSOLUTION MAY BE GRANTED FOR VOWS, etc. The scholars asked: Is that only if one had no time [before the Sabbath to seek absolution], or perhaps it holds good even if one had time? — Come and hear: For the Rabbis gave a hearing to R. Zutra b. R. Zera and absolved him of his vow, though he did have time.
THEY CLOSED UP THE WINDOW WITH A PITCHER AND TIED A POT WITH A REED ROPE. Rab Judah said in Rab's name: There was a small passage between two houses and an unclean object lay there,
and a split barrel[-shaped defective roofing] rested over them, — then they closed the window with a pitcher and tied a fire pot with a reed rope to ascertain whether the barrel[-shaped roofing] had an opening of a handbreadth or not.1
AND FROM THEIR WORDS WE LEARN THAT WE MAY STOP UP [A SKYLIGHT] AND MEASURE AND TIE ON THE SABBATH. 'Ulla visited the home of the Resh Galutha and saw Rabbah b. R. Huna Sitting in a bath-tub of water and measuring it. Said he to him: Say that the Rabbis spoke thus of measuring in connection with a precept;2 did they rule [thus] when it is not in connection with a precept? — I was merely occupying myself, he replied.3