Said Raba, “As a reward for what Abraham our forefather said, [89a] `That I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, I have make Abram rich' (Gen. 14:23), his descendants merited two commandments, the thread of blue [of the fringes on a garment] and the thong of the tefillin.”
D. Now it makes perfect sense [that there is merit in the commandment to wear] the thong of the tefillin. It is written, “And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of you” (Deut. 28:10). And it was taught on Tannaite authority: R. Eliezer the great says, “These [promises] refer to the tefillin for the head.” [The peoples will see from the tefillin that you are called by the name of the Lord.]
E. But why [do we ascribe merit] to the thread of blue? For it was taught on Tannaite authority: R. Meir says, “How different is blue from among all the colors. For blue is the color of the sea. And the sea is the same color as the firmament. And the firmament is the same color as the sapphire stone. And the sapphire stone is the same color as the throne of glory.”
F. As it is written, “And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness” (Exod. 24:10). And it is written, “And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form” (Ezek. 1:26).
A. Said R. Abba, “How severe is the sin of a theft of something that is consumed. For even the completely righteous cannot return it. As it says, `I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, [and the share of the men who went with me; let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share]' (Gen. 14:24).”
B. Said R. Yohanan in the name of R. Eleazar b. R. Simeon, “Everywhere you find the words of R. Eliezer the son of R. Yose the Galilean, make your ear like a funnel [to receive them].”
C. [He said], “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deut. 7:7). Said the Holy One Blessed be He to Israel, “I adore you. For even at the time that I bestow upon you greatness, you humble yourselves before me.
D. “I bestowed greatness upon Abraham and he said before me, `I am but dust and ashes' (Gen. 28:27). [I bestowed greatness upon] Moses and Aaron and they said, `What are we? Your murmurings are not against us but against the Lord' (Exod. 16:8). [I bestowed greatness upon] David and he said, `But I am a worm, and no man' (Ps. 22:6).
E. “But the idolaters are not [humble] like this. I bestowed greatness upon Nimrod and he said, `Come let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves...' (Gen. 11:4). [I bestowed greatness upon] Pharaoh and he said, `Who is the Lord?' (Exod. 5:2). [I bestowed greatness upon] Sennacherib and he said, `Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?' (II Kings 18:35). [I bestowed greatness upon] Nebuchadnezzar and he said, `I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High' (Isa. 14:14). [I bestowed greatness upon] Hiram king of Tyre and he said, `I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas' (Ezek. 28:2).”
A. Said Raba, and some say said R. Yohanan, “What Moses and Aaron said was more [humble] than what Abraham said. For Abraham it was written, `I am but dust and ashes.' But for Moses and Aaron it was written, `What are we?'”
B. And said Raba, and some say R. Yohanan, “The world continues to exist because of [the merit of that humble utterance of] Moses and Aaron. It is written there, `What are we (nhnw mh)?' And it is written here, `He stretches out the north over the void, and hangs the earth upon nothing (blymh)' (Job 26:7).” [The pericope makes a play on the words.]
C. Said R. Ila, “The world continues to exist because of [the merit of] a person who controls himself (bwlm) in a time of contention. As it says, `[He] hangs the earth upon nothing (blymh)' (Job 26:7).” [Another play on the words.]
D. R. Abbahu said, “The world continues to exist because of [the merit of] a person who completely abases himself. As it says, `And underneath are the everlasting arms' (Deut. 32:27).” [Those who make themselves low, support the world (Cashdan).]
E. Said R. Yitzhak, “Why is it written, `Did you indeed decree what is right, you gods [or: in silence]? Did you judge the sons of men uprightly?' (Ps. 58:1). What should a person's vocation be in this world? He should make himself mute. You might infer that do so even with regard to the words of the Torah. it comes to teach, `Decree what is right' [or: speak righteousness, i.e. Torah]. You might infer that he then will become haughty. It comes to teach, `Judge the sons of men uprightly' [or: evenly, i.e., with moderation].”
A. Said R. Zira, “They may cover the blood with the dust of a condemned city (cf. Deut. 13).”
B. But why may he do this? It is prohibited to derive benefit from [the city] (Deut. 13:18)! Said Ziri, “It was only necessary to state this on account of the dust of the earth. As it is written, `You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square, and burn the city and all its spoil with fire' (Deut. 13:16). This refers to whatever needs only to be gathered and burned. It excludes whatever needs to be uprooted, gathered and burned.” [Accordingly, one may use the dust of the earth of the city.]
C. But Raba said, “Fulfilling the commandments does not give one any benefits.” [Accordingly, to fulfill the commandment of covering the blood, one may use the dust from the city.]
D. Rabina sat and he stated this tradition. R. Rahumi raised an objection to Rabina. A shofar that was used for idolatry, he should not sound it [on the new year to fulfill the commandment]. Is it the case that if he sounded it, he did not fulfill the commandment? No, if he sounded it, he did fulfill the commandment. A lulab that was used for idolatry, he should not take it [on Sukkot]. Is it the case that if he took it, he did not fulfill the commandment. No, if he took it, he did fulfill the commandment.
E. But lo, it was taught on Tannaite authority: If he sounded it, he did not fulfill the commandment. If he took it, he did not fulfill the commandment.
F. Said R. Ashi, “Are these cases [i.e., shofar and lulav of idolatry, and dust from a condemned city] comparable? There [in the cases of lulab and shofar] [89b] we need a measurable object [to fulfill the commandment]. And we have a principle that using it for idolatry [figuratively] `shatters it into particles.' [With regard to the law, it is considered as if it does not fulfill the minimum size requirements for fulfilling the commandments.] Here [with regard to dust for covering the blood] the more it is shattered into particles, the better it is to use for covering [the blood].”
I.1 defines the terms of Mishnah. II.1 finds a scriptural basis for the rule of Mishnah. II-III give further inquiries extending the rule of Mishnah. IV.1 adds secondary materials with no bearing on the elucidation of Mishnah but developed out of the general theme of the discussion. This continues at V.1-2 with homilies on the same general theme. VI.1 concludes with a rule related to Mishnah in a brief appendix.
Bavli ullin Chapter Seven Folios 89B-103B
A. [The prohibition of] the sinew of the hip [sciatic nerve, Gen. 32:32] applies (1) in the Land [of Israel] and outside of the Land, (2) in the time of the Temple and not in the time of the Temple, (3) to unconsecrated animals and to Holy Things.
B. It applies (1) to domesticated cattle and to wild beasts, (2) to the right hip and to the left hip.
C. But it does not apply (3) to a bird, because it has no hollow [of the thigh or spoon-shaped hip socket].
D. And it applies to the foetus.
E. R. Judah says, “It does not apply to the foetus.”
F. And its fat is permitted.
G. “Butchers are not believed concerning [the claim that they removed] the sinew of the hip,” the words of R. Meir.
H. And sages say, “They are believed (1) concerning it and (2) concerning the [forbidden] fat (Lev. 3:17, 7:23).”
A. [Mishnah states: The prohibition of the sinew of the hip applies... to] Holy Things [M. 7:1A] — but this is obvious! [You might have assumed that] when it became holy the prohibition of the sinew ceased to apply to it.
B. And if you maintain that [this item is included in the Mishnah to teach a new concept, namely that] the principle of imparting flavor [as if they were meat] applies to sinews and [accordingly] the prohibition against eating holy [meat] will apply to a sinew, then it should have stated [the reverse in the Mishnah], [The prohibition of] Holy Things applies to the sinew of the hip.
C. Rather it must be that [the Tannaite authority of the Mishnah] reasons in accord with the view that the principle of imparting flavor [as if they were meat] does not apply to sinews. Hence [the sinew of the hip in animals that are] Holy Things are prohibited as sinews but not prohibited as Holy Things [because the sanctity of Holy Things does not apply to something that is not deemed to be meat].
D. But does our Tannaite authority reason in accord with the view that the principle of imparting flavor [as if they were meat] does not apply to sinews? Lo, was it not taught on Tannaite authority, A thigh with which the sinew of the hip [that was not removed] was cooked, if it [the sinew] is sufficient to impart a flavor [to the thigh], lo, this is prohibited [M. 7:4 A]?
E. Rather here [in our Mishnah-passage] we must be dealing with a case of the offspring of Holy Things. And [the Tannaite authority] holds the view that [the prohibition] applies to a foetus. And [the Tannaite authority] holds the view that the offspring of Holy Things are themselves holy even while they are in the womb of the mother. Thus the prohibition of the sinew and the prohibition of [the animal as a] Holy Thing simultaneously apply to the foetus [when it develops sufficiently].
F. But is it possible to uphold the view that [the rule of Mishnah] applies to a case of a foetus? But lo does not the fact that the latter text of the Mishnah teaches, And it applies to the foetus [D] imply that the former text of the Mishnah does not deal with the case of a foetus?
G. Here is how you should state the matter: This issue [of whether the prohibition applies to a foetus] was the subject of a dispute between R. Judah and the rabbis.
H. But is it possible to maintain that both [the prohibition of the sinew and the prohibition of the animal as a Holy Thing] simultaneously apply [to the foetus when it develops sufficiently]? Lo, was it not taught on Tannaite authority, On account of what sorts of uncleanness does the Nazir cut his hair [and bring an offering for having become unclean]? (1) On account of a corpse, and (2) on account of an olive's bulk of flesh from a corpse... [M. Nazir 7:2 A-B]?
I. But this poses a difficulty for us. If on account of [coming in contact with] an olive's bulk of flesh from a corpse he cuts his hair, then on account of [coming in contact with] the whole corpse is it not certainly logical [that he should cut his hair]?
J. [Indeed it is logical.] And said R. Yohanan, “It was only necessary to state this matter [in M. Nazir of the whole corpse] on account of the [need to include the] case of an abortion whose limbs were not attached together with its sinews.” [So on this basis we conclude that the animal is considered formed even before the sinews are formed.]