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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
If the debtor pleads that it has been settled or not settled [respectively].1 Raba said: All agree that [even] when [the debtor] admits that a note was [validly] written, it must [still] be confirmed. But here they differ as to whether we write a quittance.2 The first Tanna holds: We write a quittance;3 while R. Judah holds: A quittance4 is not written. R. Ashi said: [R. Judah's reason is] because he [the debtor] needs it to show to a second creditor, as he can say to him, 'See, I am a man who repays.'
SKIN, FOR MAKING AN AMULET. Raba asked R. Nahman: If one carries out skin, what is the standard [to involve a penalty]. Even as we learnt, he replied: SKIN, FOR MAKING AN AMULET. If one dresses it, what is the standard? — There is no difference, he replied. When it needs dressing,5 what is the standard? — There is no difference, replied he. And whence do you say thus? — As we learnt: if one bleaches [wool]. hatchels, dyes, or spins it, the standard is a full double span.6 And if one weaves two threads together, the standard is a full span.7 This shows that since it stands to be spun,8 the standard is as though it were spun. So here too, since it [the skin] stands to be dressed, its standard is as though it were [already] dressed. And if it is not to be dressed [at all]. what is the standard? There is no difference, said he to him.
But, is there no difference between dressed and undressed [hide]? He raised an objection to him: If one carries out dissolved dyes.9 [the standard is] as much as is required for dyeing a sample of wool.10 Whereas of undissolved dyes we learnt: [In the case of] nutshells,11 pomegranate shells, woad, and madder,12 [the standard is] as much as is required for dyeing the small piece of cloth at the opening [top] of a network?13 — Surely it was stated thereon, R. Nahman observed in Rabbah b. Abbuha's name: That is because one does not trouble to steep dyes [merely] for dyeing a sample of wool. Yet what of the seeds of a vegetable garden, whereof, before they are sown, we learnt: [If one carries out] garden seeds, [the standard is] less than the size of a dried fig; R. Judah b. Bathyra ruled: 'Five', yet after they are sown we learnt: As for manure, or thin sand, [the standard is] as much as is required for fertilizing a cabbage stalk; this is R. Akiba's view. But the Sages maintain: For fertilizing one leek plant?'14 Surely it was stated thereon, R. Papa said: In the one case it refers to where it is sown, in the other where it is not sown, because one does not trouble to carry out a single seed for sowing.15
Yet what of clay. whereof, before it is kneaded, it was taught: 'The Sages agree with R. Simeon, that if one carries out waste water into the street, the standard is a rebi'ith'. And we debated thereon. For what is waste water fit? And R. Jeremiah said: For kneading clay therewith. And yet after it is mixed, it was taught: As for clay, [the standard is] as much as is required for making the hole of a smelting pot?16 — There too it is as we stated, because no man troubles to knead clay [only] for making the hole of a smelting pot.
Come and hear: For R. Hiyya b. Ammi said on 'Ulla's authority: There are three [kinds of] hide: mazzah, hippa, and diftera. Mazzah17 is as its name implies, neither salted nor treated with flour or gall-nut. And what is its standard? R. Samuel b. Rab Judah recited: As much as is required for wrapping a small weight therein. And how much is that? Said Abaye: A quarter of a Pumbedithan quarter.18 Hippa is a skin that is salted but not treated with flour and gall-nut. And what is its standard? Even as we learnt: SKIN, AS MUCH AS IS REQUIRED FOR MAKING AN AMULET. Diftera is skin that has been dressed with salt and flour but not treated with gall-nut. And what is its standard? As much as is required for writing a divorce.19 Now incidentally it is stated, As much as is required for wrapping a weight therein, which Abaye explained [as meaning] a quarter of a Pumbedithan quarter?20 — There it treats of a steaming hide.21 But we learnt: A garment three [handbreadths] square is susceptible to midras,22 sacking four square, a hide five square and reed matting six square23 are susceptible to [the uncleanness of] both midras and the dead. Now it was taught thereon: As for a garment, sacking and hide, as their standard is for uncleanness, so it is for carrying out!24 — That refers to a leather spread.25
PARCHMENT, AS MUCH AS IS REQUIRED FOR WRITING THE SHORTEST PASSAGE, [etc.]. But the following contradicts this: Parchment [kelaf] and duksustos,1 as much as is required for the writing of a mezuzah?2 — What is meant by mezuzah? A parchment slip of the tefillin.3 Are then tefillin designated mezuzah? Yes, and it was taught [likewise]: tefillin straps, when together with the tefillin, defile the hands;4 when apart, they do not defile the hands. R. Simeon b. Judah said on the authority of R. Simeon,5 He who touches the strap is clean, unless he touches the capsule [of the tefillin]. R. Zakkai said in his name: He is clean, unless he touches the mezuzah itself.6 But since the second clause teaches, PARCHMENT, AS MUCH AS IS REQUIRED FOR WRITING THE SHORTEST PASSAGE OF THE TEFILLIN, WHICH IS 'HEAR O ISRAEL,' it follows that the first clause refers to the mezuzah itself? — This is its meaning: Parchment and duksustos, what are their standards? Duksustos, as much as is required for writing a mezuzah;7 parchment, for writing the shortest passage of the tefillin, which is 'Hear O Israel'.
Rab said: Duksustos is as parchment: just as tefillin may be written upon parchment, so may they be written upon duksustos. We learnt: PARCHMENT, FOR WRITING THEREON THE SHORTEST PASSAGE OF THE TEFILLIN, WHICH IS HEAR O ISRAEL. [Thus, only parchment, but not duksustos?]8 — That is for the [most preferable observance of the] precept.9
Come and hear: It is a halachah of Moses from Sinai10 that tefillin [should be written] upon parchment, and a mezuzah upon duksustos; parchment is [the skin] on the side11 of the flesh, and duksustos is [that] on the side of the hair?12 — That is for the [most preferable observance of the] precept. But it was taught: If one does otherwise, it is unfit? — That refers to the mezuzah. But it was taught: If one does otherwise, in either it is unfit? — Both refer to mezuzah, one meaning that he wrote it on parchment [kelaf] facing the hair; the other, on duksustos facing the flesh.13 An alternative answer is: [The ruling]. If one does otherwise in either, it is unfit, is dependent on Tannaim. For it was taught: If one does otherwise, it is unfit. R. Aha declares it fit on the authority of R. Ahi b. Hanina — others state, on the authority of R. Jacob b. R. Hanina. R. Papa said: Rab's ruling is as the teaching of the School of Manasseh. For the School of Manasseh taught: If one writes it on paper14 or on a cloth strip, it is unfit; on parchment, gewil,15 or duksustos, it is fit. 'If one writes it' — what? Shall we say, a mezuzah; can then a mezuzah be written upon kelaf?' Hence it Surely means tefillin. Yet [even] on your reasoning, can tefillin be written upon gewil?16 But that was taught of a Torah Scroll.17
Shall we say that the following supports him: When tefillin or a Torah Scroll wear out, a mezuzah may not be made of them,18 because we may not debase [anything] from a higher19 sanctity to a lower sanctity. Thus there is the reason that we may not debase, but if we might debase, we could make [a mezuzah]: now, whereon is it written? Surely it means that it is written on duksutos?20 — No: It Is written upon parchment [kelaf]. — But may a mezuzah be written upon kelaf? — Yes. And it was taught [likewise]: If one writes it on kelaf, on paper, or on a cloth strip, it is unfit. R. Simeon b. Eleazar said: R. Meir used to write it21 upon kelaf, because it keeps [better]. Now that you have arrived at this [conclusion],22 according to Rab too, do not say. Duksustos is as kelaf but say, kelaf is as duksustos: just as a mezuzah may be written upon duksustos, so may it be written upon kelaf.
INK, FOR WRITING [TWO LETTERS].
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