רב אשי אמר לא נצרכא אלא לשמנו דתניא שמנו מותר וישראל קדושים נהגו בו איסור
Rav Ashi said: The mishna’s ruling that the sinews must be burned is necessary only with regard to the fat around the sciatic nerve, as it is taught in a baraita: The fat around the sciatic nerve is permitted by Torah law, but the Jewish people are holy and treated it as forbidden. Since it is permitted by Torah law, it has the status of sacrificial meat and may not be simply discarded. Nevertheless, since the Jewish people treat it as forbidden, they do not eat it even from the Paschal offering, despite the mitzva to eat that offering in its entirety. Therefore, it is left until after the time when the meat may be eaten and it is burned as leftover sacrificial meat.
רבינא אמר לא נצרכא אלא לכדרב יהודה אמר שמואל דאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל שני גידין הן פנימי סמוך לעצם אסור וחייבין עליו חיצון סמוך לבשר אסור ואין חייבין עליו
Ravina said: The mishna’s statement is necessary only with regard to the outer nerve, and it is in accordance with that which Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said. As Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: There are two nerves included in the prohibition of the sciatic nerve. The inner nerve that is next to the bone is forbidden by Torah law, and one is liable to be flogged for eating it. The outer nerve that is next to the flesh is forbidden by rabbinic law, and therefore one is not liable to be flogged for eating it. In the case of a Paschal offering, since the outer nerve is permitted by Torah law, it assumes the status of leftover sacrificial meat when it is not eaten.
ת"ש אכל מזה כזית ומזה כזית סופג שמונים רבי יהודה אומר אינו סופג אלא ארבעים
The Gemara suggests: Come and hear another resolution to the dilemma about Rabbi Yehuda’s statement, from a mishna (96a): If one ate an olive-bulk from this sciatic nerve of the right leg and an olive-bulk from that sciatic nerve of the left leg, he incurs eighty lashes. Rabbi Yehuda says: He incurs only forty lashes.
אי אמרת בשלמא מיפשט פשיטא ליה שפיר אלא אי אמרת ספוקי מספקא ליה הויא לה התראת ספק ושמעינן ליה לרבי יהודה דאמר התראת ספק לא שמה התראה
Granted, if you say it is obvious to Rabbi Yehuda that the sciatic nerve of the right thigh is the one forbidden by Torah law, it is well. But if you say he is uncertain, why would he hold that one incurs any lashes? When the individual is forewarned not to partake of each sciatic nerve, which is necessary in order to be liable for incurring lashes, it is an uncertain forewarning, and we have heard about Rabbi Yehuda that he said: An uncertain forewarning is not characterized as forewarning.
דתניא הכה את זה וחזר והכה את זה קלל את זה וחזר וקלל את זה הכה שניהם בבת אחת או שקלל שניהם בבת אחת חייב רבי יהודה אומר בבת אחת חייב בזה אחר זה פטור
As it is taught in a baraita: If one is uncertain which of two men is his father and he struck this one and then struck that one, or cursed this one and then cursed that one, or struck both of them simultaneously, or cursed both of them simultaneously, he is liable to receive the death penalty, as he certainly struck or cursed his father. Rabbi Yehuda says: If he struck or cursed both of them simultaneously he is liable, provided he was forewarned that his action will certainly render him liable to receive the death penalty. But if he struck or cursed them one after the other he is exempt. Apparently, Rabbi Yehuda is of the opinion that one is not punished after uncertain forewarning; since in this case it is impossible to determine which of them is the father, inevitably each forewarning is uncertain. Similarly, if Rabbi Yehuda is uncertain which sciatic nerve is forbidden by Torah law, he should hold that since the forewarning before eating either sciatic nerve is uncertain, one who consumes both should be exempt.
האי תנא סבר לה כאידך תנא דרבי יהודה דאמר התראת ספק שמה התראה
The Gemara answers: This tanna of that mishna, on 96a, holds in accordance with the opinion of another tanna with regard to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, who said that Rabbi Yehuda holds that an uncertain forewarning is characterized as forewarning.
דתניא (שמות יב, י) לא תותירו ממנו עד בקר וגו' בא הכתוב ליתן עשה אחר לא תעשה לומר שאין לוקין עליו דברי ר' יהודה
As it is taught in a baraita: The verse states with regard to the Paschal offering: “And you shall not leave any of it until morning; but that which remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire” (Exodus 12:10). The verse comes to provide a positive mitzva to burn the leftover meat after it has taught a prohibition against leaving it over, to say that one is not flogged for violation of the prohibition; this is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Yehuda holds that one is not flogged for any transgression that can be rectified by the performance of a positive mitzva.
רבי יעקב אומר לא מן השם הוא זה אלא משום דהוה לאו שאין בו מעשה וכל לאו שאין בו מעשה אין לוקין עליו
Rabbi Ya’akov says: This, the halakha that one is not flogged, is not for that reason. Rather, it is because leaving over sacrificial meat is a prohibition that does not involve an action, as one violates the prohibition through failure to take action, and concerning any prohibition that does not involve an action, one is not flogged for its violation. The forewarning one could receive for this transgression is an uncertain one, because witnesses who forewarn the individual cannot be certain until daybreak that he will leave it over. Nevertheless, this baraita indicates that if not for the fact that leaving over sacrificial meat can be rectified by a positive mitzva, Rabbi Yehuda would hold that one is flogged for leaving over sacrificial meat.
ת"ש אכל ב' גידין מב' ירכות מב' בהמות סופג פ' רבי יהודה אומר אינו סופג אלא ארבעים
The Gemara suggests: Come and hear a resolution of the uncertainty with regard to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda from a baraita: If one ate two sciatic nerves from two thighs of two different animals, he incurs eighty lashes. Rabbi Yehuda says: He incurs only forty lashes.
מדקאמר מב' ירכות מב' בהמות פשיטא דתרוייהו לאיסורא ולרבי יהודה איצטריך ש"מ מיפשט פשיטא ליה ש"מ
The Gemara comments: From the fact that the first tanna said that he was referring to two thighs of two different animals, it is obvious that he meant they were both from the right thigh, because if one were from the right thigh and one were from the left thigh it would not matter if they were from two different animals or from the same animal. Consequently, both sciatic nerves are definitely forbidden by Torah law, and according to the first tanna one incurs eighty lashes for eating them. And it was necessary to teach that according to Rabbi Yehuda one incurs only forty lashes, as will be explained. Conclude from this baraita that it is obvious to Rabbi Yehuda that it is the sciatic nerve of the right thigh that is forbidden by Torah law. The Gemara affirms: Conclude from it that this is Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion.
ואי פשיטא ליה אמאי סופג מ' ותו לא לילקי פ' הכא במאי עסקינן כגון דלית בו כזית דתניא אכלו ואין בו כזית חייב רבי יהודה אומר עד שיהא בו כזית
The Gemara seeks to clarify the baraita: But if it is obvious to Rabbi Yehuda that the sciatic nerve from the right thigh is prohibited by Torah law, why does he incur forty lashes and nothing more? Let him be flogged eighty times. The Gemara answers: Here we are dealing with a case where the volume of one of the sciatic nerves is not an olive-bulk, and Rabbi Yehuda holds that in such a case one is not flogged for its consumption. As it is taught in a baraita: If one ate the entire sciatic nerve and its volume is not an olive-bulk, he is nevertheless liable to be flogged, because he ate a complete, natural unit of forbidden food. Rabbi Yehuda says: He is not liable unless it has a volume of at least an olive-bulk.
וטעמא מאי אמר רבא אמר קרא הירך המיומנת שבירך
The Gemara asks: And what is the reason that Rabbi Yehuda holds that only the sciatic nerve of the right thigh is forbidden by Torah law? Rava said that it is because the verse states: “Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sciatic nerve that is upon the spoon of the thigh” (Genesis 32:33). The definite article indicates that this is referring to the most important thigh.
ורבנן ההוא דפשיט איסוריה בכוליה ירך לאפוקי חיצון דלא
And the Rabbis, who hold that the sciatic nerves of both the right and left thighs are forbidden by Torah law, explain the definite article as teaching that the prohibition applies to the one whose prohibition spreads through the entire thigh, i.e., the inner nerve. This serves to exclude the outer nerve, which is not prohibited by Torah law.
וריב"ל אמר אמר קרא (בראשית לב, כו) בהאבקו עמו כאדם שחובק את חבירו וידו מגעת לכף ימינו של חבירו
And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that Rabbi Yehuda holds that the sciatic nerve of the right thigh is forbidden because the verse states: “And when he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the spoon of his thigh; and the spoon of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him” (Genesis 32:26). The angel grappled with Jacob like a man who hugs another in order to throw him to the ground, and his hand reaches to the spoon of the right thigh of the other.
רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר כעובד כוכבים נדמה לו דאמר מר ישראל שנטפל לו עובד כוכבים בדרך טופלו לימינו
Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: The angel appeared to him as a gentile, as the Master said: A Jew who is joined by a gentile on the road and continues his travels with him should position the gentile to his right, close to one’s dominant hand. This allows the Jew to defend himself against any potential attack. Since Jacob followed this practice, it was therefore Jacob’s right thigh that the angel touched.
רב שמואל בר אחא קמיה דרב פפא משמיה דרבא בר עולא אמר כת"ח נדמה לו דאמר מר המהלך לימין רבו הרי זה בור
Rav Shmuel bar Aḥa said before Rav Pappa in the name of Rava bar Ulla that the angel appeared to Jacob as a Torah scholar, and therefore Jacob positioned the angel on his right side, as the Master said: One who walks to the right of his teacher is an ignoramus, in that he does not know how to act with good manners. Consequently, it was Jacob’s right thigh that the angel touched.
ורבנן מאחוריה אתא ונשייה בתרוייהו
And the Rabbis, who hold that the sciatic nerves of both thighs are forbidden, understand that the angel came from behind Jacob and hit him on both thighs.
ורבנן האי בהאבקו עמו מאי דרשי ביה מבעי ליה לכאידך דר' יהושע בן לוי דאמר ר' יהושע ב"ל מלמד שהעלו אבק מרגלותם עד כסא הכבוד כתיב הכא בהאבקו עמו וכתיב התם (נחום א, ג) וענן אבק רגליו
The Gemara asks: And the Rabbis, what do they derive from this phrase: “As he wrestled with him” (Genesis 32:26)? The Gemara answers: They require it for the other interpretation of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: This teaches that the dust [avak] from their feet ascended to the throne of glory. It is written here: “As he wrestled [behe’avko] with him,” and it is written there in a description of how God will punish the wicked: “The Lord, in the whirlwind and in the storm is His way, and the clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3).
ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי למה נקרא שמו גיד הנשה שנשה ממקומו ועלה וכן הוא אומר (ירמיהו נא, ל) נשתה גבורתם היו לנשים
§ The Gemara cites another statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi concerning the sciatic nerve: And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: Why is its name called sciatic nerve [gid hanashe]? It is because the sciatic nerve left [nasha] its place and rose. And similarly the verse says: “The mighty men of Babylon have ceased to fight, they remain in their strongholds; their might has left [nashata], they are become as women” (Jeremiah 51:30).
אמר ר' יוסי ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב (ישעיהו ט, ז) דבר שלח ביעקב ונפל בישראל דבר שלח ביעקב זה גיד הנשה ונפל בישראל שפשט איסורו בכל ישראל
The Gemara continues with other expositions pertaining to the sciatic nerve. Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “The Lord sent a word to Jacob, and it has fallen upon Israel” (Isaiah 9:7)? “He sent a word to Jacob”; this is a reference to the sciatic nerve. “And it has fallen upon Israel”; this teaches that its prohibition has been extended to the entire Jewish people.
ואמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב (בראשית מג, טז) וטבוח טבח והכן פרע להן בית השחיטה והכן טול גיד הנשה בפניהם כמ"ד גיד הנשה נאסר לבני נח
And Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, also said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house: Bring the men into the house, and slaughter the animals, and prepare the meat; for the men shall dine with me at noon” (Genesis 43:16)? Joseph commanded his steward: Expose the place of the slaughter on the neck of the animal to them so that the brothers will know that it is being slaughtered correctly. “And prepare” teaches that Joseph instructed the steward to remove the sciatic nerve in their presence so that the brothers would know that it had been fully removed. The Gemara comments that this opinion is according to the one who said that the sciatic nerve was forbidden to the children of Jacob even before the Torah was given, when they still had the status of descendants of Noah.
(בראשית לב, כה) ויותר יעקב לבדו אמר רבי אלעזר שנשתייר על פכין קטנים מכאן לצדיקים שחביב עליהם ממונם יותר מגופם וכל כך למה לפי שאין פושטין ידיהן בגזל
The Gemara returns to the verse of Jacob wrestling with the angel. The verse states: “And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day” (Genesis 32:25). Rabbi Elazar says: The reason Jacob remained alone was that he remained to collect some small pitchers that had been left behind. From here it is derived that the possessions of the righteous are dearer to them than their bodies. And why do they care so much about their possessions? It is because they do not stretch out their hands to partake of stolen property.
(בראשית לב, כה) ויאבק איש עמו עד עלות השחר אמר רבי יצחק מכאן לת"ח שלא יצא יחידי בלילה רבי אבא בר כהנא אמר מהכא
The verse states: “And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.” Rabbi Yitzḥak says: From here it is derived that a Torah scholar should not go out of his house alone at night, as Jacob went out alone at night and was injured. Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said that the source for this instruction is from here: