Closing the Eyes of the Dead

Daf 210-220 (Shabbat 147a-157b)


Daf 210 (Shabbat 147a-147b)

Mishnah. Here are rules for bathing and drying after bathing on Shabbes.

Gemara. The gemara seeks to determine who is the author of the mishnah and whether or not a lone bather is permitted to carry his wet towel home on Shabbes.

Daf 211 (Shabbat 148a-148b)

When Rabbah bar bar Chanah visits Pombedisa he does not attend Rav Yehudah’s lectures until Rav Yehudah has Rabbah bar bar Chanah’s cloak confiscated and he is compelled to go there to retrieve it. While there, he hears Yehudah expound the current mishnah and announces that it has been emended.

Perek 23. Mishnah. Here is an exception to the prohibition of financial transactions on Shabbes.

Gemara. The gemara seeks to understand how borrowing is permitted so long as the words “lend me” remain unsaid. Moving on, the rabbis explain why they do not rebuke the people for certain Shabbes violations: “Let the Jews continue in their practice since they will not change their ways even if rebuked. It is preferable that they be unintentional violators and not be deliberate violators.”

Mishnah. Here are the rules for casting and playful gambling on Shabbes.

Daf 212 (Shabbat 149a-149b)

Gemara. Why is it forbidden to read a list on Shabbes– to eliminate the temptation to emend it or because it is a “common” business document?  The gemara seeks to determine if there is a significant distinction between the alternative explanations.

It is also forbidden to read captions under murals on Shabbes– and to gaze on the tableaux themselves on any day. (ArtScroll: “The gemara should be rendered Do not remove God from your minds. That is, do not gaze at man-made works, for when you do so, God is not present in your thoughts.”

Daf 213 (Shabbat 150a-150b)

Mishnah. Here are rules regulating hiring workers on Shabbes or proximate to its conclusion.

Gemara. The prohibition to hire or speak of hiring on Shabbes is interpreted: “Speech is forbidden; thought is permitted.” Rav Acha bar Rav Huna objects, “Such a ruling implies that thought is not legally equivalent to speech.” The gemara asks, if thought is not equivalent to speech, why is it forbidden to think of Torah in the lavatory?

Daf 214 (Shabbat 151a-151b)

Mishnah. Here are rules on how to behave related to actions one anticipates performing once Shabbes has ended, as well as what is permissible in preparing for a funeral.

Gemara. The rabbis seek to clarify when a grave dug by a gentile on Shabbes may be used to bury a Jew.

Mishnah. Here are additional rules for care of the dead on Shabbes.

Gemara. The gemara seeks to qualify what the mishnah means when it says, “One may attend to all the needs of the deceased . . . “

Mishnah. “We may not close the eyes of the dead on the Sabbath.”

Gemara. The gemara expounds on the notion that “Once a person dies, he becomes ‘free’ of miztvot.” Solomon’s motto is cited: “to perform good deeds while one is still alive and has the chance to do so.” Furthermore, we should deal with others compassionately because “sooner or later everyone becomes poor.”

Daf 215 (Shabbat 152a-152b)

Various stories are offered supporting the adage that “Youth is a crown of roses; old age is a crown of nettles.” This is followed by speculation on the soul’s journey following the death of the body.

Daf 216 (Shabbat 153a-153b)

Rav says, “From a person’s eulogy . . . it can be discerned whether or not the deceased is destined to enter the World to Come.” The gemara wonders why Rav felt it was necessary to warn Rav Shmuel Bar Shilas, “Take care to deliver a moving eulogy at my funeral, for I shall be standing there in spirit watching you!” Others are mentioned whose place in the World to Come is assured.

Perek 24. Mishnah. Here are rules for one who finds himself on the road as Shabbes approaches.

Gemara. What does one do with his purse? (Answer: Give it to a gentile for safekeeping or, if none is nearby, place it on his donkey.) If the only ones available to hold the purse are a deaf mute, a deranged person, and a minor, who should one designate to hold the purse? Reluctantly, the rabbis reveal that when no other remedy is at hand “he may carry it himself.”

Daf 217 (Shabbat 154a-154b)

It is noted that acts reluctantly permitted to secure a purse would in some cases carry the penalty of stoning. The question to be resolved: how to prevent loss without deliberately or needlessly acting in a way that incurs that liability.

Daf 218 (Shabbat 155a-155b)

Mishnah. Here are rules on preparing animal feed on Shabbes.

Gemara. The gemara seeks to understand how the mishnah applies to handling straw. Can one exert oneself to improve animal feed that is already edible?

Mishnah. Here are instructions for feeding camels, calves, chickens, bees, doves, geese, and pigeons.

Gemara. Many statements in the mishnah puzzle the rabbis. For example: “One may not fatten calves, but one may put food down their throats.” The gemara asks what would constitute “fattening.” Rav Yehudah suggests it is connected to how far down the throat one thrusts the food. Rav Chisda disagrees, suggesting the distinction is between pushing the food with one’s hand versus using a utensil. There appears to be a general agreement that on Shabbes it is only permissible to feed those animals that depend on Jews for their food. (Since the rabbis have put a curse on any Jew who raised a pig, even though the pig depends on humans for their food, one is not allowed to put food before a pig.)

Daf 219 (Shabbat 156a-156b)

The gemara lists several foods that may be prepared on Shabbes so long as the method of preparation deviates from the “usual” manner.

The distinct character traits of men born on each day of the week are described, concluding, “He who is born on a Sabbath will be destined to die on a Sabbath, since they had to desecrate the great day of the Sabbath on his behalf.” The rabbis argue whether or not the celestial signs at one’s birth determines one’s fate. They cite several instances when acts of charity altered the fate of the individual who performed the act.

Mishnah. Here are more rules for preparing animal feed on Shabbes.

Gemara. The gemara seeks to determine if a carcass of an animal that died on Shabbes may be cut up and fed to livestock.

Daf 220 (Shabbat 157a-157b)

The gemara looks at other items possibly forbidden for Shabbes use if they have not been prepared in advance.

Mishnah. Here are the rules regulating whether it is permissible to annul vows or seek release from vows on the Sabbath.

Gemara. The gemara seeks to determine if the mishnah applies only to cases where the outcome will facilitate necessary Shabbat preparations.

End of Tractate Shabbat

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