A. A certain butcher said to his fellow [with whom he was feuding], [95a] “If you had appeased me I would have provided you with meat from the fatted ox I processed yesterday.” He said to him, “I ate from its choicest cut.” He said to him, “Where did you get it?” He said to him, “So-and-so the idolater bought it and provided it to me.” He said to him, “I processed two and that one was terefah.”
B. Said Rabbi, “On account of this one idiot who acted improperly should we prohibit all of the stalls [of the gentiles from selling meat]?”
C. And Rabbi is consistent with his own view elsewhere. For he said, “[Where there are gentiles who sell in the] stalls, and the butchers are Israelites, the meat that is found in the hand of an idolater is permitted.”
D. Another version: Said Rabbi, “On account of this one idiot whose intention was to irritate his fellow should we prohibit all of the stalls [of the gentiles from selling meat]?”
E. The basis for this argument is that he wanted to irritate his fellow [so we do not prohibit the meat on that account]. If it were not for that, would we prohibit it?
F. But lo, it was taught on Tannaite authority: Rabbi says, “[Where there are gentiles who sell in the] stalls, and the butchers are Israelites, the meat that is found in the hand of an idolater is permitted.” But here the case is different. The presumption was established of the [prevalence in the marketplace of meat that was] prohibited.
A. Said Rab, “[Valid] meat that vanished from sight [for any time at all] is prohibited [because it could have been switched with carrion-meat].”
B. They raised an objection to this: Rabbi said, “[Where there are gentiles who sell in the] stalls, and the butchers are Israelites, the meat that is found in the hand of an idolater is permitted.” [Presumably this meat had been out of sight].
C. [This is not a valid objection.] What is found in the hand of an idolater is a different case. [It does not have the same status of meat that had been out of sight.]
A. Come and take note: If there were nine stores, all of them selling properly slaughtered meat, and one of them selling carrion-meat, and one purchased meat from one of them and does not know from which of them he has made the purchase — his doubt is resolved in favor of a prohibition. But if the meat is found [in the inventory of a stall], then one follows the status of the majority [of the stalls, and it is permitted][cf. b. Pes. 9b].
B. Here too [we presume] it is found in the hand of an idolater [supporting the preceding. But what about the following?]
C. Come and take note: [If] one found in it meat, they follow the status of the majority of the butchers. If it was cooked, they follow the status of the majority of those who eat cooked meat [M. Maksh. 2:9].
D. And if you wish to maintain that here too [we presume] it is found in the hand of an idolater, [why does it specify], If it was cooked, they follow the status of the majority of those who eat cooked meat? Let us just take a look. Does an idolater have it [then he cooked it]? Or does an Israelite have it [then he cooked it]?
E. In that case, what are we dealing with? [With a piece of meat dropped by the owner and the one who finds it] was standing and watching it [from the time it was dropped].
F. Come and take note: [If] it is found out in the provinces, [if it is in] limbs, it is deemed to be carrion. [If it is in] pieces, it is permitted. [M. Sheq. 7:3 F-H]. And if you wish to maintain that here too [the case deals with a piece of meat dropped by the owner and the one who finds it] was standing and watching it [from the time it was dropped], then why say [if it is in] limbs, it is deemed to be carrion?
G. There is no basis for this except in accord with the view of Rab [who deals with a case of meat that vanished from sight, II.3 A].
H. Lo, it was stated concerning this: Rab said, “They [the pieces] are permitted [for benefit and do not render unclean] on account of carrion [but one may not eat them].” And Levi said, “They are permitted for eating.”
I. And this [principle] of Rab was not stated by him explicitly. Rather it was stated as a principle derived from the following [incident]: For Rab was once sitting at the ford of the Ishtatit canal [Cashdan: near Sura, cf. Obermeyer, p. 300]. He saw a certain man [95b] washing an animal's head. He dropped it [into the canal]. He went and brought a basket [to retrieve it]. He cast it [into the canal] and brought up two [heads]. Said Rab, “Did others also do this here?” He prohibited them both to him.
J. Said R. Kahana and R. Assi to Rab, “Are prohibited ones more typical and permitted ones not typical?” He said to them, “Prohibited ones are more typical.”
K. And what does it matter whether [Rab stated the principle explicitly or] it was a principle derived [from this incident]? [In this case they were at] an embankment of an idolater's market. And you know this because it was stated that prohibited ones are more typical [in that place].
L. But [if he was so strict] how did Rab ever eat meat? [He ate it] right after [an animal was slaughtered] when it had never been out of sight. And if you prefer [another possibility]: where [the meat was] wrapped and sealed. And also [another possibility]: where there was some sign [in the meat itself that it was valid].
M. This accords with that [practice] of Rabbah b. R. Huna who would cut [his meat] in the shape of a triangle.
A. Rab was once going to the house of R. Hanan, his son-in-law. He saw a ferry coming toward him. He said, “A ferry is coming towards me. It will be a good day.” He went on his way and came to the gate [at his destination]. He looked in through a crack in the door and saw an animal hanging there. He knocked on the door. Everyone came out to greet him. The butchers came too. Rab did not let it [the meat] out of his sight. He said to them, “If this is how [you watch the meat] you will end up feeding my daughter's children prohibited food.” Rab did not eat this meat.
B. On what basis [did he refuse to eat the meat]? If it was on account of concern that it was out of sight, lo, he did not let it out of his sight. Rather it was on account of his premonition.
C. But lo said Rab, “Any omen that is not consistent with that of Eliezer the servant of Abraham or that of Jonathan the son of Saul is not a valid omen.” [The verses are: “Let the maiden to whom I shall say, `Pray let down your jar that I may drink,' and who shall say, `Drink, and I will water your camels' — let her be the one whom thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac. By this I shall know that thou hast shown steadfast love to my master'” (Gen. 24:14) and, “If they say to us, `Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, `Come up to us,' then we will go up; for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us” (I Sam. 14:9-10).]
D. Rather [the basis for Rab's decision was] that it was an elective meal [not an obligation]. And Rab did not want to derive benefit from an elective meal.
A. Rab scrutinized a ferry [for an omen]. Samuel scrutinized [the recitation of a passage from] a book [for an omen]. R. Yohanan scrutinized [the saying of] a child [for an omen].
B. All the years that Rab was [in Babylonia] R. Yohanan would write to him [with the salutation]: “To the attention of our master in Babylonia.” When he [Rab] passed away, he [Yohanan] would write to Samuel: “To the attention of our master in Babylonia.” He [Samuel] said, “I do not know of anything concerning which I am his master.” So he [Samuel] wrote down and sent to him the calendar calculations for the next sixty years. He [Yohanan] said, “Look at this. All he knows is calculations.” He [Samuel] wrote down and sent to him thirteen camels [var.: scrolls] loaded with questions of doubts concerning [the rules of law for] terefah-animals. He [Yohanan] said, “I do have a master in Babylonia. I will go and see him.” He said to a child, “Recite for me your verse.” He said to him, “Now Samuel had died, [and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and wizards out of the land]” (I Sam. 28:3). [Yohanan] said, “We may derive from this the conclusion that Samuel passed away. But it was not so. Samuel had not died. Rather this came about so as not to put R. Yohanan to the trouble [of taking a trip to Babylonia to see Samuel].
C. It was taught on Tannaite authority: R. Simeon b. Eleazar says, “[Building] a house, [the birth of] a child, or [marrying] a woman — even though it may not be scrutinized as an omen, it may be interpreted as a sign.”
D. Said R. Eleazar, “Only if it recurred three times.” As it is written: “[And Jacob their father said to them, `You have bereaved me of my children:] Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin; [all this has come upon me']” (Gen. 42:36).
E. R. Huna posed a question to Rab, “What is the status of strings of meat? [Are they omens or not?]” He said to him, “Don't be an idiot. Meat strung together, behold, is an omen.”
F. Another version: Said R. Huna, said Rab, “Meat strung together, behold, it is an omen.”
A. R. Nahman [var.: Hanan] from Nehardea came upon R. Kahana at Pum Nahara [the mouth of the Tigris] on the eve of the Day of Atonement. Ravens came and dropped pieces of liver and kidneys. He [Kahana] said to him, “You may take them and eat them. Nowadays permitted [meat] is more common.”
B. R. Hiyya bar Abin once lost an animal's intestine among the barrels. [After finding it] he came before R. Huna [to inquire as to the status of the meat]. He [Huna] said to him, “Do you have some sign on it?” He said to him, “No.” [Huna said to him,] “Do you recognize it?” He said to him, “Yes.” [Huna said to him,] “If so then go and take it [to use].”
C. R. Hanina of Hozae [Cashdan: Khazistan] lost a side of beef. [After finding it] he came before R. Nahman [to inquire as to the status of the meat]. He [Nahman] said to him, “Do you have some sign on it?” He said to him, “No.” [Nahman said to him,] “Do you recognize it?” He said to him, “Yes.” [Nahman said to him,] “If so then go and take it [to use].”
D. R. Nathan bar Abayye lost a ball of blue yarn [that was to be used for fringes]. [After finding it] he came before R. Hisda [to inquire as to the status of the yarn]. He [Hisda] said to him, “Do you have some sign on it?” He said to him, “No.” [Hisda said to him,] “Do you recognize it?” He said to him, “Yes.” [Hisda said to him,] “If so then go and take it [to use].”