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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
a hearth with pots all round.1 What is the sign of the bed of a talmid hakam? — That nothing is kept under it save sandals in the summer season and shoes in the rainy season.2 But the bed of an 'am ha' arez is like a packed storeroom.3
R. Bana'ah used to mark out caves [where there were dead bodies].4 When he came to the cave of Abraham,5 he found Eliezer the servant of Abraham standing at the entrance. He said to him: What is Abraham doing? He replied: He is sleeping in the arms of Sarah, and she is looking fondly at his head. He said: Go and tell him that Bana'ah is standing at the entrance. Said Abraham to him: Let him enter; it is well known that there is no passion in this world.6 So he went in, surveyed the cave, and came out again. When he came to the cave of Adam,7 a voice came forth from heaven8 saying Thou hast beholden the likeness of my likeness,9 my likeness itself thou mayest not behold.10 But, he said, I want to mark out the cave. The measurement of the inner one is the same as that of the outer one [came the answer]. (Those who hold that there was one chamber above another [say that the answer was], The measurement of the lower one is the same as that of the upper one.) R. Bana'ah said: I discerned his [Adam's] two heels, and they were like two orbs of the sun. Compared with Sarah, all other people are like a monkey to a human being, and compared with Eve Sarah was like a monkey to a human being, and compared with Adam Eve was like a monkey to a human being, and compared with the Shechinah Adam was like a monkey to a human being. The beauty of R. Kahana was a reflection of [the beauty of Rab; the beauty of Rab was a reflection of]11 the beauty of R. Abbahu; the beauty of R. Abbahu was a reflection of the beauty of our father Jacob, and the beauty of Jacob was a reflection of the beauty of Adam.
There was a certain magician who used to rummage among graves.12 When he came to the grave of R. Tobi b. Mattenah (R. Tobi) took hold of his beard. Abaye13 came and said to him: 'pray, leave him.' A year later he again came, and he [the dead man] took hold of his beard, and Abaye again came, but he [the dead man] did not leave him till he [Abaye] had to bring scissors and cut off his beard.
A certain man [when on his deathbed] said: I leave a barrel of dust to one of my sons, a barrel of bones to another, and a barrel of fluff to the third. They could not make out what he meant, so they consulted R. Bana'ah. He said to them: Have you any land? We have, they replied. Have you cattle? Yes. Have you cushions? Again the answer was in the affirmative. If so, said R. Bana'ah, that is what your father meant.
A certain man heard his wife say to her daughter, Why do you not observe more secrecy in your amours?14 I have ten children, and only one is from your father. When [the man was] on his deathbed, he said, I leave all my property to one son. They had no idea which of them he meant, so they consulted R. Bana'ah. He said to them: Go and knock at the grave of your father, until he gets up and tells you which one of you [he has made his heir]. So they all went to do so. The one who was really his son, however, did not go. R. Bana'ah thereupon said: All the estate belongs to this one. They then went and slandered him before the king, saying: There is a man among the Jews who extorts money from people without witnesses or anything else. So they took him and threw him in prison. His wife came [to the Court] and said: I had a slave, and some men have cut off his head, skinned him, eaten the flesh and filled the skin with water and given students to drink from it, and they have not paid me either its price or its hire. They did not know what to make of her tale, so they said: Let us fetch the wise man of the Jews and he will tell us. So they called R. Bana'ah, and he said to them: She means a goat-skin bottle. They said: Since he is so wise, let him sit in the gate and act as judge. He saw that there was an inscription over the gateway, 'Any judge who is sued in court is not worthy of the name of judge'. He said: If that is so, any man from the street can come and
Baba Bathra 58b
sue the judge and so disqualify him. What it should say is, 'Any judge who is sued in court and against whom judgment is given is no true judge'.1 They therefore wrote: But the elders of the Jews say, 'Any judge who is sued in court and against whom judgment is given is no true judge'. He saw another inscription which ran, 'At the head of all death am I, Blood: At the head of all life am I, Wine'. [How can that be? he said.] If a man falls from a roof or a date-tree and kills himself, does he die from excess of blood? And again, if a man is on the point of death, do they give him wine to drink? No. What should be written is this: 'At the head of all sickness am I, Blood, At the head of all medicine am I, Wine'. They therefore wrote: 'But the elders of the Jews say, At the head of all sickness am I, Blood, At the head of all medicine am I, Wine; only where there is no wine are drugs required'.
MISHNAH. THERE IS NO HAZAKAH6 FOR A GUTTERPIPE,7 BUT THERE IS FOR ITS PLACE.8 THERE IS HAZAKAH FOR A ROOFGUTTER.9 THERE IS NO HAZAKAH FOR AN EGYPTIAN LADDER BUT THERE IS FOR A TYRIAN. THERE IS NO HAZAKAH FOR AN EGYPTIAN WINDOW BUT THERE IS FOR A TYRIAN. WHAT IS AN EGYPTIAN WINDOW? ONE THROUGH WHICH A MAN CANNOT PUT HIS HEAD. R. JUDAH SAYS THAT IF IT HAS A FRAME, EVEN THOUGH A MAN CANNOT PUT HIS HEAD THROUGH IT, THERE IS HAZAKAH FOR IT.
GEMARA. What [is meant by Saying that] THERE IS NO HAZAKAH FOR A GUTTER-PIPE BUT THERE IS FOR ITS PLACE? — Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: It means this. There is no hazakah for the gutter-pipe at one particular end of the gutter,10 but there is a hazakah for it to be placed either at one end or the other.11 R. Hanina said: There is no hazakah for the gutterpipe12 [to the extent] that if he [the owner of the courtyard] finds it too long he can have it shortened, but there is hazakah for its place [to the extent] that if he wants to remove it altogether he is not at liberty to do so. R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: There is no hazakah for a gutter [in so far] that if he [the owner of the courtyard] desires to build under it he may do so,13 but there is hazakah for its place [to the extent] that if he wants to remove it altogether, he is not at liberty to do so.
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