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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
and if you prefer I might say: Because the North wind1 did not blow upon them. For it was taught: In all the forty years during which Israel was in the wilderness the North wind did not blow upon them. What was the reason? — If you wish I might say: Because they were under divine displeasure.2 And if you prefer I might say: In order that the clouds of glory3 might not be scattered.
R. Papa said: Hence, no circumcision may be performed on a cloudy day or on a day when the South wind4 blows; nor may one be bled5 on such a day. At the present time, however, since many people are in the habit of disregarding these precautions,6 The Lord preserveth the simple.7
Our Rabbis taught: In all the forty years during which Israel was in the wilderness8 there was not a day on which the North wind9 did not blow at the midnight hour; for it is said, And it came to pass at midnight, that the Lord smote all the firstborn etc.10 How is the deduction arrived at? — By this we were taught that an acceptable time11 is an essential.12
R. Huna said: A mashuk13 is Pentateuchally permitted to eat terumah but has been forbidden to do so by Rabbinical ordinance, because he appears to be like one uncircumcised.
An objection was raised: The mashuk requires to be [re-] circumcised!14 — Only by Rabbinical ordinance.
But he who raised the objection on what ground did he raise it, when it was definitely stated 'requires'!15 — He misunderstood the final clause: R. Judah said, He16 should not be circumcised because such an operation is dangerous in his case.17 They said to him: 'Surely many were circumcised in the days of Ben Koziba18 and yet gave birth to sons and daughters, [such circumcision being lawful] as, in fact, it is said in Scripture, Must needs be circumcised,19 even a hundred times. And, furthermore, it is said, He hath broken My covenant,20 which includes the mashuk'.21 What need was there for the additional text? — In case you might argue that Must needs be circumcised22 includes only the shreds which render a circumcision invalid23 [so he added]. Come and hear, He hath broken My covenant20 which includes the mashuk.24 He25 consequently thought that, as the Talmud26 made use of a Scriptural text, the law27 must be pentateuchal; but the fact is that it is only28 Rabbinical, and the Scriptural text is a mere prop.
An objection was raised: A tumtum29 may not eat terumah,30 but his women31 and slaves may eat of it. A mashuk32 and one born circumcised33 may eat of it. The hermaphrodite34 may eat terumah but not holy food35 while the tumtum may eat neither terumah nor holy food.36 At all events, it was taught here that the mashuk and one born circumcised may eat terumah; is not this a refutation against R. Huna!37 — It is indeed a refutation.38
The Master said,'A tumtum may not eat terumah, but his women39 and slaves may eat of it'. By what legal act could a tumtum acquire his wives?40 If it be suggested, by betrothing them; for it was taught. 'If a tumtum betrothed a woman, his betrothal is valid and if he was betrothed by a man his betrothal is also valid',41 it might be retorted that the validity was intended only as a restrictive measure;42 was it, however, intended also as a relaxation of a law?43 He44 is possibly a woman, and no woman, surely, may betroth a woman! — Abaye replied: Where his testes can be distinguished externally. Raba replied: 'What is the meaning of "his women"? — His mother'. But [is not the case of his mother] self-evident? It might have been presumed that only one capable of procreation bestows the privilege of eating terumah, but one who is incapable does not bestow it, hence we were taught [that even a tumtum may bestow the privilege].
Come and hear: A tumtum may eat neither terumah nor holy food.45 According to Abaye, this46 is quite correct, since the first clause speaks of the certainly non-circumcised person47 while the final clause speaks of the doubtful one; according to Raba, however, what need was there for the mention of the tumtum in the final clause? — The meaning of48 tumtum49 is 'the uncircumcised'.50 If, however, one whose status as a non-circumcised person is in doubt is not permitted to eat terumah,51 would any one who is definitely an uncircumcised person be permitted to eat it?52 — The final clause is an interpretation of the first:53 Why may not 'a tumtum eat terumah'? Because he might have the status of an uncircumcised person,54 and a man who is uncircumcised 'may eat neither terumah nor holy food'.
May it be assumed that this55 is a question in dispute among Tannaim: A mashuk,56 and57 a proselyte whose conversion took place while he was already circumcised,58 and a child, the proper time of whose circumcision had passed,59 and all other circumcised persons, this means to include one who has two foreskins, may be circumcised in the daytime only. R. Eleazar b. Simeon, however, said: At the proper time60
children may be circumcised in the daytime only; and if not at the proper time they may be circumcised both by day and by night,1 Do they not differ on the following principle: While one Master2 is of the opinion that the circumcision of a mashuk is a pentateuchal law, the other Master3 is of the opinion that the circumcision of the mashuk is only a Rabbinical ordinance?4 — And can you understand this?5 Is there any authority who maintains that the duty to circumcise a child whose proper time of circumcision had passed6 is only Rabbinical!7 But the fact is that both8 agree that the circumcision of a mashuk is a Rabbinical ordinance,9 and that the duty to circumcise a child whose proper time of circumcision had passed, is Pentateuchal. Here,10 however, their difference depends on the following principle: One Master11 holds that [the conjunctive in the expression]. And in the day12 is to be expounded;13 and the other Master3 is of the opinion that [the conjunctive in] And in the day12 is not to be expounded.14 [The exposition here is of the same nature] as the following:15 When R. Johanan was once sitting [at his studies] and expounding that 'nothar16 at its proper time17 may be burned in the daytime only,18 and if not at its proper time,19 it may be burned either in the day or in the night'. R. Eleazar raised an objection: I only know that a child whose circumcision takes place on the eighth day must be circumcised in the daytime only; whence, however, is it deduced that the case of a child whose circumcision takes place on the ninth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth20 is also included? Because it was expressly stated, 'And in the day';21 and even he22 who bases no expositions on a Waw does base his exposition on the basis of a Waw and a He!23 The other remained silent. After he went out, R. Johanan said to Resh Lakish: I observed that the son of Pedath24 was sitting and making expositions like Moses in the name of the Almighty. 'Was this his'? Resh Lakish replied.'It is really a Baraitha'. 'Where', the first asked. 'was it taught'? — 'In Torath Kohanim'.25 He went out and learned it26 in three days; and was engaged in making deductions and drawing conclusions from it for a period of three months.
R. Eleazar stated: The sprinkling27 performed28 by an uncircumcised person is valid, for his status is similar to that of a tebul yom29 who, though forbidden to eat terumah, is permitted to prepare30 the red heifer.31
The case of the tebul yom,29 however, might be different, since he is also permitted to eat tithe!32 — Are we speaking of eating?33 We speak only of touching: If a tebul yom who is forbidden to touch terumah is permitted [to occupy himself] with the red heifer,30 how much more so the uncircumcised who is permitted to touch terumah!
An objection was raised: If a tumtum36 performed sanctification,37 his sanctification is invalid, because he [has the status of the person whose uncircumcision is a matter of] doubt, and such a person is forbidden to perform sanctification.37 If an hermaphrodite.38 however, performed sanctification,37 his sanctification is valid. R. Judah said: Even if an hermaphrodite performed sanctification his act has no validity. because [his sex might] possibly be that of a woman, and a woman is ineligible to perform sanctification.39 At all events it was taught here that the uncircumcised or the person whose uncircumcision is a matter of doubt is forbidden to perform sanctification!40 R. Joseph replied: This Tanna is one of the school of R. Akiba who include the uncircumcised in the same prohibition as that of the unclean; as it was taught: R. Akiba said, 'What man soever41 includes also the uncircumcised'.42
Raba related: I was once sitting before R. Joseph when I raised the following difficulty: Then43 the Tanna44 should not have omitted to state.45 'The uncircumcised and the unclean', and one would at once suggest that the author was R. Akiba!46 — But does he not?47 Surely it was taught: The uncircumcised and the unclean are exempt from appearing at the Festivals!48 — There [the case is different], because he is a repulsive person.49
They50 follow their own respective views. For it was taught: All51 are permitted to perform sanctification,52 with the exception of the deaf, the imbecile and the minor. R. Judah permits in the case of the minor but regards a woman and an hermaphrodite as unfit.53 What is the Rabbi's reason? — Because it is written, And for the unclean they shall take of the ashes of the burning of the purification from sin,54 those who are ineligible55 for the gathering56 are also ineligible for the sanctification,57 but those who are eligible58 for the gathering56 are also eligible for the sanctification.59 And R. Judah?60 — He can answer you: If so,61 Scripture should have used62 the expression 'He shall take',63 why then, And they shall take?64 To indicate that even those who are ineligible there65 are eligible here. If so, a woman also should be eligible!66 Shall he put67 but not 'Shall she put'. And the Rabbis? — Had it been written, 'He shall take'68 and 'Shall he put'.68 it might have been assumed that only one individual must take69 and only one must put,70 hence did the All Merciful write, And they shall take.71 And had the All Merciful written, 'And they shall take' and also 'Shall they put'.71 it might have been assumed that two must take69 and two must put,70 hence did the All Merciful write, And they shall take68 and Shall he put.68 [to indicate that the rites are duly performed] even if two take69 and one put.70
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