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The rabbis taught: Although it is written [Deut. xxiv. 8]: “Take heed in the plague of leprosy,” which signifies, that the leprous spot must not be cut; but if the white spot (the symptom of leprosy) show itself on the member to be circumcised, it may be cut off, whether the member be circumcised at the prescribed time or afterwards. A biblical festival must not be violated on account of circumcision, unless it happen to be the eighth day (precisely the prescribed time). Whence do we adduce these two ordinances? From the teaching of the rabbis, as follows: The first one is based on the verse [Leviticus xii. 3]: “And on the eighth day shall the flesh of his foreskin be circumcised.” The order is imperative, regardless of whether the member be leprous MCDBA or not. Whence do we know this? Perhaps it means to say, that only the healthy flesh of the foreskin be circumcised? Nay; it could say merely the foreskin, but it says expressly the flesh of the foreskin, meaning that even if the flesh be leprous it should also be circumcised. What need is there of a special verse for this purpose? During circumcision no intention to cut leprous flesh exists; hence, if it be done, it is done unintentionally, and an unintentional act does not involve culpability? Said Abayi: “The verse is used here to counteract the opinion of R. Jehudah, who holds, that an act committed unintentionally also involves culpability.” Rabha said: “The verse must be used, even if the opinion of R. Simeon be adhered to, who holds, that an act committed unintentionally does not involve culpability. For in this case it is different; the act committed here is like the one where a man would behead another and still claim no intention to kill him (and when circumcising the flesh of the foreskin, if there be a leprous sore, one cannot help but cut it)This, even R. Simeon admits, would involve culpability, were it not for that exonerating verse.” Does Rabha alone hold thus? Have we not learned elsewhere that Abayi and Rabha both p. 295 agree, that R. Simeon declares even an unintentional act, which is, however, like the case of one beheading another without the intention to kill him, to be prohibited? After Abayi had heard Rabha’s explanation, he accepted it. The second ordinance mentioned is, according to Rabha, based upon the verse [Exodus xii. 16]: “No manner of work shall be done on them, save what is eaten by every man; that only may be prepared by you.” “That” stands for circumcision only in its prescribed time, but not for the preparation for it and “only” stands as a prohibition not to perform the rite unless it be the prescribed time. R. Ashi, however, said: “No special verse is needed for this, for a festival is referred to [in Leviticus xxiii. 32]as “a sabbath of rest shall it be unto you.” Hence it is a positive commandment, and the verse stated (immediately before this) is a negative commandment; thus a festival is covered by both a positive and negative commandment, while circumcision is covered by a positive commandment only, and one positive commandment cannot supersede a joint positive and negative commandment. “A rule was laid down by R. Aqiba.” Said R. Jehudah in the name of Rabh: “The Halakha according to R. Aqiba prevails.” We have learned also in the matter of Passover sacrifices to the same effect, that every act of labor that can be performed on the day before Sabbath must not supersede the (due observance of) Sabbath, but the killing of the sacrifice, which cannot be done on the day before Sabbath, does supersede (the due observance of) Sabbath; and R. Jehudah declared also, in the name of Rabh, that the Halakha according to R. Aqiba prevails. It is necessary that he should so instruct us at MCDBA both times, because, if he instructed only as concerns circumcision, we might assume that where sacrifices for the Passover are concerned, the preparations which could have been made on the day before Sabbath, but were not, would supersede the due observance of the Sabbath; because failure to bring that sacrifice would involve the punishment of Karath (being cut off), while failure in circumcision would not involve Karath, if not performed at the right time; and, on the other hand, had he instructed us only as concerns sacrifices for the Passover, we might assume that the Sabbath could be violated if the acts necessary for circumcision which could have been performed on the day before, were not; for the reason, that the covenant regarding circumcision is mentioned thirteen times in the Thora, p. 296 and is in consequence regarded as a thirteenfold commandment, which must under all circumstances be observed. Hence the necessity for the twofold instruction. MISHNA: One may perform everything necessary for circumcision on the Sabbath, as circumcising, tearing open, sucking out the blood, applying a plaster or caraway seed. If the latter had not been ground before the Sabbath, one may masticate it with the teeth and then apply it. If one had not mixed wine with oil before the Sabbath, he may apply each separately. One must not prepare an actual bandage (on the Sabbath), but may apply an old piece of linen; and if such had not been prepared before the Sabbath, the circumciser may bring it with him tied around his finger and even from another court (yard). GEMARA: Let us see: The Mishna enumerates all the acts necessary for the performance of the rite of circumcision; why, then, does it commence by saying, “everything necessary” for circumcision, and then proceed to detail “everything”? What act is there that has not been enumerated? The Mishna means to include what was taught us by the rabbis, as follows: “The circumciser, while engaged in finishing the circumcision, if noticing that excrescences still remain on the gland, whether they are of a nature which make the circumcision invalid or such as do not make it invalid, may remove them. But if he had already finished (and put up his instruments), if excrescences which make the circumcision invalid remain, he may remove them; but if they do not make the circumcision invalid, he must not remove them.” (Hence by stating “everything that is necessary,” etc., the Mishna means to include, that it is permitted even to remove excrescences which do not make the circumcision invalid, provided the operator had not already finished and put up his instruments.) Who is the Tana who holds, that if the circumciser had already finished he must not return and remove the excrescences? Said Rabha bar bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan, it was R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan ben Berokah, as we have learned in a Boraitha: “If the fourteenth of Nissan fall on a Sabbath, the animal used for the Passover sacrifice may be skinned only as far as the breast, so saith R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan ben Berokah; but the sages say, that the whole animal may be skinned.” (Now, we see that R. Ishmael holds, that after the work had been completed as far as was necessary no more may be done; hence he is the one who says, that the circumciser must not return to remove the excrescences.) This p. 297 is not conclusive evidence! It may be that R. Ishmael in the case of the sacrifice holds, that because it is not necessary that the commandment be beautified. 1 But in the case of circumcision, where the beautifying of the commandment is necessary (as is taught in Tract Sakkah), we might say, that R. Ishmael is of a different opinion; therefore the sages of Neherdai say, that the Tanas who hold, that after having finished the circumcision the operator must not commence anew, are in reality the rabbis who differ with R. Jose in Tract Menachoth concerning the law of the showbreads. 2 The rabbis taught: “If excrescences MCSE 2003 remain on the gland after circumcision, and are such as make the circumcision invalid, they must be removed; and failure to do so involves the punishment of Karath.” Who becomes liable to be punished by Karath? Said R. Kahana: “The circumciser.” (If he performed the circumcision on Sabbath and did not finish it, he simply made a wound and did not perform a commandment; hence he becomes amenable to Karath. R. Papa opposed this: “The circumciser might say, ‘I have performed one half of a commandment; come ye and complete the other half. Why should I be punished by Karath?’ Therefore if the circumcision was performed on an adult who, excrescences which make it invalid having remained, will not permit them to be removed, he becomes amenable to Karath.” This was opposed by R. Ashi: “As for an adult, what news does that impart to us? It is expressly stated [Genesis xvii. 14]: ‘And any uncircumcised male, who circumciseth not the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people’? Therefore he says nay; it really refers to the circumciser, and only then if he came late on Sabbath, near twilight, and was told that it would be impossible to finish the operation before night, but persisted in performing it. If in consequence he left excrescences which make the circumcision invalid, he simply made a wound without performing a commandment, and thus he becomes amenable to Karath.”


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