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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate ‘Abodah Zarah
R. Eleazar said: Everything is sufficiently guarded by one seal, except wine, which is not considered guarded by one seal. R. Johanan however said: Even wine is sufficiently guarded by one seal. And the one is not in conflict with the other, as the one follows the opinion of R. Eliezer, and the other, that of the Rabbis.10 Some have the following version: Said R. Eleazar: Everything is sufficiently guarded by a seal within another seal,11 except wine which is not guarded even by such double seal. R. Johanan however said: Even wine is guarded by a seal within a seal. Both these follow the opinion of the Rabbis, the one holding that the Rabbis only differ from R. Eliezer where there is but one seal, but if there is a seal within another seal they, too, permit it; while the other holds that even in the case of a double seal they forbid.
What, for example, is a seal within another seal? — Raba said: A basin placed over the opening of a barrel and joined to the barrel with a seal on it, is a seal within another seal, otherwise it is not so; or a basket fastened [over the stopper] is a seal within a seal, but if it is not fastened it is not a seal within a seal; a skin bottle within a bag with the closed opening of the skin bottle inside, is a seal within a seal, but if the opening is without, it is not a seal within a seal; if he bends in the closed opening of the skin bottle within and then ties the bottle up again and seals it, it is likewise considered a seal within a seal.
Our Rabbis taught: Formerly the ruling was that wine of En-Kusi12 is forbidden because of Birath-Sirika,13 that of Borkata14 is forbidden on account of Kefar-Parshai, and that of Zagdar is forbidden because of Kefar-Shalem;15 subsequently however this was altered thus: If in open barrels it is forbidden, but if in closed ones it is permitted. What was the opinion held formerly and what was the later opinion? — At first the opinion was held that a Cuthean is not particular about an idolater's coming in contact [with the wine] whether the barrels be open or closed; but subsequently they formed the opinion that only in the case of open ones they are not particular, but in the case of closed barrels they are very particular indeed.
Is it then permitted in the case of open barrels? But the following contradicts it:
‘Abodah Zarah 31bIf one sends a cask of wine by the hand of a Cuthean, or of brine1 or muries2 by the hand of an idolater if he can identify his seal and the [spot and manner of] his closing up, it is permitted, but if not it is forbidden!3 — R. Zera said: There is no contradiction: The one refers to the town,4 the other to the open road.5 R. Jeremiah demurred to this: But did not that of the town come by road? — But, said R. Jeremiah: Our teaching only refers to [barrels closed in] the vicinity of the wine presses; since all the people are about there, he would be afraid [to let an idolater touch it] lest it be detected and he lose thereby.
It has been stated: Why has beer of heathens been forbidden? Rami b. Hama said in the name of R. Isaac: Because of marriages.6 R. Nahman said: Because it might have been left uncovered. 'Uncovered' when? If while in the vat — we also keep it uncovered;7 and if while in the barrel, in that state, too, we keep it uncovered!8 — It may only refer to a place where the water is allowed to settle.9 In that case it should be permitted when it matures, for Rab said:10 [Liqueur which is] matured is permitted, for [the venom] would not allow it to mature; [so also wine which is] fermented is permitted, for it would not have allowed it to ferment! — Matured is forbidden as a safeguard against the fresh. R. Papa used to drink beer when it was brought out to him to the door of the shop; R. Ahai used to drink it when it was brought to his house. Both of them held that the reason [for the prohibition] is intermarriage, but R. Ahai insisted on extraordinary precaution.
R. Samuel b. Bisna happened to be in Marguan;11 they brought him wine but he would not drink it, they then brought him beer which he did not drink either. It is quite correct as to the wine, as there is a suspicion, but what objection is there to the beer? There is the suspicion of a suspicion.12 Said Rab: 'Beer of an Aramean is permitted, still I would not allow my son Hiyya to drink it'. Which way will you have it? If it is permitted then it should be permitted to all; if [on the other hand] it is forbidden, it should be forbidden to all! — Rab suspects it of being left uncovered; but the bitter taste of the hops counteracts any venom that might be in it, so that it can only prove injurious to one who is an invalid, and his son Hiyya, being an invalid, should therefore abstain from drinking it.
Samuel said: All reptiles have poisonous venom; that of a serpent is fatal, while that of other reptiles has no fatal effect. Said Samuel to Hiyya b. Rab: O son of a scholar,13 come let me tell you a good thing which your father Rab used to say. Thus said your father: The reason why those swollen Arameans who drink what is kept uncovered suffer no fatal consequences is because, through eating abominable and creeping things, their bodies become immune from it. R. Joseph said:
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