This is a side description of how the Angel of Death kills people.
This is a resolution of the difficulty—the R. Shimon b. Gamaliel did not intentionally look at the beautiful woman. She rounded the corner and popped into view.
Today’s sugya analyzes the line from the baraita which prohibits looking at women’s colored clothing.
One may not look at a woman’s colored garments, even when a woman is not wearing them. These too may be sexually arousing. However, this is limited to a case where the man knows the woman to whom they belong.
The launderer referred to here washes clothing before the first time they are used. Obviously, he must look at the clothing first. This proves that the prohibition relates only to worn clothing. Furthermore, only worn clothing will probably be associated with a particular woman.
The Talmud points out that when it comes to the prohibition of watching animals mate, the owner may bring animals to mate, and even watch the full intercourse to make sure that it happens. The prohibition is waived because the owner is not interested in sexual arousal, he is interested in his work. So too in the case of the launderer, he is interested in the work. But other men may not look at new colored women’s clothing.
Above the baraita had stated that the drop of gall from the Angel of Death’s sword kills people. But Shmuel’s father seems to say that the Angel of Death kills with his sword.
The Talmud resolves this (rather weakly, in my humble opinion) by suggesting that the drop of gall may be what cuts the organs of the throat. Not the sword itself.
To keep the drop of gall out of the body, one should turn the body on its side. Perhaps this was also a way of letting some of the liquid out so that it would deteriorate a bit slower.
This is another derashah on the same verse that yesterday’s section ended with.
This is another midrash on the verse from Deuteronomy. A person should strive for holiness, which here seems to be defined as avoiding what we might term “sexual pollution,” and may be an allusion to wet dreams.
While R. Pinchas b. Yair viewed “righteousness” as the greatest of all characteristics, R. Joshua b. Levy sees humility as the greatest. Humility here probably means something slightly different from the way we view it. It is a characteristic whereby one does not judge the world based on social standing, but rather views all human beings as fundamentally equal, all created in God’s image.
Today’s section begins interpreting the Mishnah’s prohibition of selling non-Jews anything attached to the ground.
In all three of these disputes R. Judah allows a Jew to sell a non-Jew various plants attached to the soil (in the land of Israel) as long as he stipulates that the non-Jew will cut the plant down and not take possession of the land. But R. Meir is stricter and rules that the Jew may sell only the cut down product.
The Talmud now asks the question that we should anticipate—why do we need to know that they disagree in all three cases? Why couldn’t we have learned one case from the other?
The first point they make is that if we knew only of the first dispute we might have thought that R. Meir prohibits selling the tree before it is felled, because the non-Jew would not lose out by leaving the tree in the ground. But when it comes to the grain, if the grain is ripe, it must be harvested immediately. Therefore, R. Meir might agree that the Jew can sell it unharvested. The baraita teaches us that R. Meir still disagrees.
This is basically the opposite reasoning as above. Low growth obviously benefits by remaining the soil. So in that case, R. Judah might agree with R. Meir that he shouldn’t sell it unharvested to the non-Jew, for the non-Jew will hold on to the land for a long time. That is why the baraita tells us that R. Judah still allows one to leave it in the soil.
If we had learned only the case of the low growth, we might have thought that R. Meir rules strictly there because it pays for the non-Jew not to cut the low growth down. Thus he will hold on to the land. But in the case of the tree or the grain, there is no definite benefit to letting it grow, therefore R. Meir might agree with R. Judah. Thus we need to know that the tannaim disagree about all three cases.
Earlier we learned that one cannot sell a non-Jew a large animal lest they work that animal on Shabbat. Today’s section asks whether one can sell a large animal on condition that the non-Jew slaughter it for food.
When the Jew sells a tree, grain, or low-growth to the non-Jew while still attached to the land, the Jew still owns the land. He will have some leverage over the non-Jew to get him to cut it down. This might be why R. Judah allows one to sell the vegetation to the non-Jew. But if he sells an animal on condition that it be slaughtered, he will have little leverage. The non-Jew might hold on to it for a long period of time, and perhaps work the animal on Shabbat. In this case, perhaps R. Judah would hold that it can’t be sold. Or maybe it makes no difference, and R. Judah would permit here as well.
Indeed, the same dispute exists when it comes to cattle.
Today’s section is the last mishnah of the chapter. It discusses selling houses and fields to idolaters in the land of Israel and in the surrounding areas.
Rabbi Meir holds that one should not even rent houses to non-Jews in the land of Israel, lest he come to sell them as well. This is true of houses and even truer with regard to fields, for with fields there is the added problem of tithes. Once a Jew sells his field to a non-Jew the field’s produce is not liable for tithing. In this way, the sale reduces the holiness of the field. In Syria, which is adjacent to Israel and was conquered by David but is not considered fully a part of Israel, we can be slightly more lenient. Houses may be rented to non-Jews, but fields still may not, because the produce grown in Syria is still subject to tithes. Outside of the land, a Jew may sell houses, but he still may not sell fields, lest by habit he come to sell fields in the land of Israel as well.