Sanhedrin 59bסנהדרין נ״ט ב
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59bנ״ט ב

והרי מילה שנאמרה לבני נח דכתיב (בראשית יז, ט) ואתה את בריתי תשמור ונשנית בסיני (ויקרא יב, ג) וביום השמיני ימול לישראל נאמרה ולא לבני נח

The Gemara asks: But isn’t there the mitzva of circumcision, which was stated with regard to descendants of Noah, i.e., Abraham and his descendants, who had the status of descendants of Noah at that time? As it is written that God said to Abraham with regard to the mitzva of circumcision: “And as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your offspring after you, throughout their generations” (Genesis 17:9). And it was repeated at Sinai for the Jewish people: “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:3), and nevertheless it was stated for the Jewish people alone and not for the descendants of Noah.

ההוא למישרי שבת הוא דאתא ביום ואפילו בשבת

The Gemara answers: That verse stated at Sinai is not necessary for the mitzva itself, but rather it comes to permit circumcision on Shabbat. It is derived from the phrase “on the eighth day” that circumcision must always be performed on the eight day, and this is the halakha even if it falls on Shabbat. Therefore the mitzva is not considered to have been repeated at Mount Sinai.

והרי פריה ורביה שנאמרה לבני נח דכתיב (בראשית ט, ז) ואתם פרו ורבו ונשנית בסיני (דברים ה, כו) לך אמור להם שובו לכם לאהליכם לישראל נאמרה ולא לבני נח

The Gemara asks: But isn’t there the mitzva of procreation, which was stated with regard to the descendants of Noah? As it is written: “And you, be fruitful and multiply, swarm in the land and multiply in it” (Genesis 9:7). And it was repeated at Sinai, in the verse: “Go say to them: Return to your tents” (Deuteronomy 5:26), when the Jewish men were commanded to resume conjugal relations with their wives after having been commanded to separate from them in preparation for the giving of the Torah. Nevertheless, the mitzva of procreation was stated for the Jewish people and not for the descendants of Noah.

ההוא לכל דבר שבמנין צריך מנין אחר להתירו הוא דאתא

The Gemara answers: That verse stated at Sinai is not necessary for the mitzva itself, but rather it comes to teach another halakha: That any matter that was prohibited by an official vote of the Sanhedrin requires another vote to permit it. Even if a rabbinic prohibition is no longer relevant, it is not automatically canceled, but rather a special ruling is required to cancel it. This is derived from the fact that it was necessary for God to issue a declaration (Deuteronomy 5:26) specifically canceling the prohibition that had been issued before the giving of the Torah.

אי הכי כל חדא וחדא נמי נימא משום מילתא איתני

The Gemara asks: If so, let us say with regard to each and every one of the seven Noahide mitzvot that it was repeated because of an additional matter the Torah teaches, and the descendants of Noah are exempt from them all.

הכי קאמר אזהרה מיהדר ומיתנא בה למה לי

The Gemara answers that this is what Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, is saying: After stating a prohibition with regard to the descendants of Noah, why do I need the Torah to then repeat the prohibition itself for the Jewish people? If the only purpose is to teach an additional halakha, it is unnecessary to repeat it in the form of a prohibition, e.g., “You shall not murder…you shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:13). Therefore, it is derived from the fact that the entire prohibition is repeated, and not just the new details, that it applies both to Jews and to descendants of Noah.

ואין לנו אלא גיד הנשה בלבד ואליבא דר' יהודה הני נמי לא איתני

It is stated in the baraita: And we have only the prohibition against eating the sciatic nerve to which this classification applies, and this is according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda. The Gemara asks: But these aforementioned mitzvot also, procreation and circumcision, were not repeated at Sinai in order to teach that they apply to the descendants of Noah as well as to the Jewish people, but rather were mentioned for other purposes, and therefore, they apply only to the Jewish people, similar to the prohibition against eating the sciatic nerve.

הני איתני לשום מילתא בעלמא הא לא איתני כלל

The Gemara answers: These mitzvot were repeated for the sake of teaching some other matter. By contrast, this prohibition of eating the sciatic nerve was not repeated at all; it is mentioned only in Genesis. Therefore, circumcision and procreation are not included in the category of mitzvot that were given to the descendants of Noah and were not repeated at Sinai.

אי בעית אימא מילה מעיקר' לאברהם הוא דקא מזהר ליה רחמנא ואתה את בריתי תשמור אתה וזרעך אחריך לדורותם אתה וזרעך אין איניש אחרינא לא

If you wish, say that there is another explanation for the fact that the mitzva of circumcision does not apply to the descendants of Noah despite the fact that it was repeated for the Jewish people: From the outset, it was Abraham, and not all the descendants of Noah, that the Merciful One commanded to perform this mitzva; as He said to him: “And as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your offspring after you, throughout their generations” (Genesis 17:9). The Gemara infers: “You and your offspring,” yes; another person, no.

אלא מעתה בני ישמעאל לחייבו (בראשית כא, יב) כי ביצחק יקרא לך זרע

The Gemara challenges: If that is so, the descendants of Ishmael should also be obligated to observe circumcision, as they are also the offspring of Abraham. The Gemara explains: The verse states: “For through Isaac, offspring shall be called yours” (Genesis 21:12), which means that Ishmael’s descendants are not called the offspring of Abraham.

בני עשו לחייבו ביצחק ולא כל יצחק

The Gemara challenges: Granted, Ishmael’s descendants are not considered the offspring of Abraham, but at least the descendants of Esau, Isaac’s son, should be obligated to observe circumcision. The Gemara explains: Since the term: “Through Isaac [beYitzḥak],” also means: Of Isaac, it is derived that the mitzva applies to only some of Isaac’s offspring, but not all the descendants of Isaac. This serves to exclude the descendants of Esau.

מתקיף לה רב אושעיא אלא מעתה בני קטורה לא לחייבו האמר ר' יוסי בר אבין ואיתימא ר' יוסי בר חנינא (בראשית יז, יד) את בריתי הפר לרבות בני קטורה

Rav Oshaya objects to this: If that is so, the descendants of Keturah, Abraham’s second wife, should not be obligated to observe circumcision. The Gemara answers: Rabbi Yosei bar Avin says, and some say that it is Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina who says that the verse: “And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant” (Genesis 17:14) is stated to include the descendants of Keturah in the obligation to observe circumcision.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב אדם הראשון לא הותר לו בשר לאכילה דכתיב (בראשית א, כט) לכם יהיה לאכלה ולכל חית הארץ ולא חית הארץ לכם

§ Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: Meat was not permitted to Adam, the first man, for consumption, as it is written: “And God said: Behold, I have given you every herb that brings forth seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree that gives forth seed; for you it shall be for food, and for every animal of the earth, and for every fowl of the air, and for everything that creeps upon the earth, in which there is a living soul, every green herb for food. And it was so” (Genesis 1:29–30). It is derived God told Adam: Eating vegetation is permitted to people and animals, but eating the animals of the earth is not permitted to you.

וכשבאו בני נח התיר להם שנאמר (בראשית ט, ג) כירק עשב נתתי לכם את כל יכול לא יהא אבר מן החי נוהג בו ת"ל (בראשית ט, ד) אך בשר בנפשו דמו לא תאכלו יכול אף לשרצים ת"ל אך

But when the children of Noah came, God permitted them to eat meat; as it is stated: “Every moving thing that lives shall be for food for you; as the green herb I have given you all” (Genesis 9:3). One might have thought that accordingly, even the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal does not apply to the descendants of Noah; therefore the verse states: “Only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you shall not eat” (Genesis 9:4). One might have thought that the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal applies even to creeping animals; therefore the verse states “only,” a term used for exclusion, indicating that creeping animals are not included.

ומאי תלמודא א"ר הונא דמו מי שדמו חלוק מבשרו יצאו שרצים שאין דמם חלוק מבשרם

The Gemara asks: And what is the derivation? What is the proof that it is creeping animals that are excluded from this prohibition and not another type of animal? Rav Huna says: The term “its blood” indicates that the prohibition pertains to animals whose blood is halakhically considered separate from their flesh. This excludes creeping animals, whose blood is not considered separate from their flesh.

מיתיבי (בראשית א, כו) ורדו בדגת הים מאי לאו לאכילה לא למלאכה

The Gemara raises an objection to the assertion that eating meat was prohibited to Adam, from the verse: “And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creeps upon the land” (Genesis 1:28). What, is it not stated with regard to consumption, i.e., doesn’t this verse mean that people may eat the meat of animals? The Gemara answers: No, the verse is referring to using animals for labor.

ודגים בני מלאכה נינהו אין כדרחבה דבעי רחבה הנהיג בעיזא ושיבוטא מאי

The Gemara asks: But are fish capable of performing labor? The Gemara answers: Yes, they are capable, in accordance with the statement of Raḥava; as Raḥava asked the following question: If one drove a wagon to which a goat and a shibbuta fish were harnessed together, what is the halakha? Has he violated the prohibition of diverse kinds, in the same way that one does when plowing with an ox and a donkey together? In any event, Raḥava’s question indicates that there is a way, albeit far-fetched, for a fish to perform labor.

ת"ש (בראשית א, כו) ובעוף השמים מאי לאו לאכילה לא למלאכה

Come and hear a proof that it was permitted for Adam to eat meat, from the phrase in the aforementioned verse: “And have dominion…and over the fowl of the air.” What, is it not stated with regard to consumption? The Gemara answers: No, it is referring to labor.

ועופות בני מלאכה נינהו אין כדבעי רבה בר רב הונא דש באווזין ותרנגולין לר' יוסי ברבי יהודה מאי

The Gemara asks: But are birds capable of performing labor? The Gemara answers: Yes, they are capable, as Rabba bar Rav Huna raises a dilemma: If one threshed with geese and chickens, what is the halakha according to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, derives from the verse: “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads” (Deuteronomy 25:4), that a laborer in a field is entitled to eat from the produce during his work only if his work involves both his hands and his feet, like an ox, which treads with its forelegs as well as its hind legs. Rabba bar Rav Huna raises a dilemma as to whether the prohibition against muzzling an animal while it is being used for labor in the field applies to geese and chickens, which have only two feet. In any event, it is indicated in that dilemma that birds can perform labor.

תא שמע (בראשית א, כח) ובכל חיה הרומשת על הארץ ההוא לאתויי נחש הוא דאתא

Come and hear a proof from the phrase: “And have dominion…and over every living thing that creeps upon the land.” Creeping animals certainly cannot be used for labor. Apparently, the verse is referring to eating them. The Gemara answers: That phrase comes to include the snake, which was capable of performing labor when it was created.

דתניא ר"ש בן מנסיא אומר חבל על שמש גדול שאבד מן העולם שאלמלא (לא) נתקלל נחש כל אחד ואחד מישראל היו מזדמנין לו שני נחשים טובים אחד משגרו לצפון ואחד משגרו לדרום להביא לו סנדלבונים טובים ואבנים טובות ומרגליות ולא עוד אלא שמפשילין רצועה תחת זנבו ומוציא בה עפר לגנתו ולחורבתו

As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya says: Woe over a great attendant that has been lost to the world; as had the snake not been cursed that it should go on its belly, there would have been two fine snakes at the disposal of each and every one of the Jewish people. One he would send to the north, and the other one he would send to the south, to bring him precious sandalbonim, a type of precious stone, and other precious stones and pearls. Moreover, he would attach a strap under his snake’s tail like a harness to an animal, and use it to take dirt out to his garden and to rebuild his ruin, as he does with other animals. This demonstrates that the snake was capable of performing labor.

מיתיבי היה ר' יהודה בן תימא אומר אדם הראשון מיסב בגן עדן היה והיו מלאכי השרת צולין לו בשר ומסננין לו יין הציץ בו נחש וראה בכבודו ונתקנא בו התם בבשר היורד מן השמים

The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita to the assertion that eating meat was prohibited to Adam: Rabbi Yehuda ben Teima would say: Adam, the first man, would dine in the Garden of Eden, and the ministering angels would roast meat for him and strain wine for him. The snake glanced at him and saw his glory, and was jealous of him, and for that reason the snake incited him to sin and caused his banishment from the Garden. According to this, evidently Adam would eat meat. The Gemara answers: There the reference is to meat that descended from heaven, which was created by a miracle and was not the meat of animals at all.

מי איכא בשר היורד מן השמים אין כי הא דר"ש בן חלפתא הוה קאזיל באורחא פגעו בו הנך אריותא דהוו קא נהמי לאפיה אמר (תהלים קד, כא) הכפירים שואגים לטרף נחיתו ליה תרתי אטמתא חדא אכלוה וחדא שבקוה אייתיה ואתא לבי מדרשא בעי עלה דבר טמא הוא זה או דבר טהור א"ל אין דבר טמא יורד מן השמים

The Gemara asks: Is there such a thing as meat that descends from heaven? The Gemara answers: Yes, it is like this incident: As Rabbi Shimon ben Ḥalafta was walking along the way, he encountered those lions that were roaring at him, intending to eat him. He said: “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God” (Psalms 104:21), and they deserve to receive food. Two thighs of an animal descended from heaven for him. The lions ate one of these thighs, and they left the other one. He took it and entered the study hall, and inquired about it: Is this thigh a kosher item or a non-kosher item? The Sages said to him: Certainly it is kosher, as a non-kosher item does not descend from heaven.

בעי מיניה ר' זירא מר' אבהו ירדה לו דמות חמור מהו א"ל יארוד נאלא הא אמרי ליה אין דבר טמא יורד מן השמים:

In connection to that story, it is related that Rabbi Zeira asked Rabbi Abbahu: If the likeness of a donkey had descended for him, what would the halakha have been? Would it have been permitted? Rabbi Abbahu said to him: Foolish bird [yarud nala]. The Sages already said to him that a non-kosher item does not descend from heaven; therefore, it must be kosher.

ר"ש אומר אף על הכישוף: מ"ט דר"ש דכתיב

§ In the baraita that lists the Noahide mitzvot (56a), it is stated that Rabbi Shimon says that the descendants of Noah were also commanded concerning the prohibition against engaging in sorcery. The Gemara asks: What is the reasoning behind the opinion of Rabbi Shimon? The Gemara answers: As it is written: