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The economy of AI 32: a rude beast and even encouraging idolatry

From the rebellion of Ben Kusava onwards, many factors worked to cultivate the whole issue of rough cattle such as - the increase in demand for rough cattle due to the increased presence of the Roman legions, the Roman bureaucracy and the phenomenon of growth in urbanization; A response to honoring Hungarian taxes; The phenomenon of the multiplicity of intensive farms involved and the development of craft and industry in relation to rough cattle such as dairy products and leather.

A cow in an anemone field in the north of the country. Image:
A cow in an anemone field in the north of the country. Image:

In the previous chapter we talked about the attitude of the sages For small animals (goats, sheep) And what are the laws in case they cause damages.

In the definition, a thin animal was separated from a rough one on the basis of physical data - while the thin one is thin and agile, and as a result it has a tendency to penetrate the fields and orchards of other owners and cause damage there, while the coarse one, as such, is intended for work and cargo such as cattle and horses. Also, the structure of the skin of the thin animal is softer and more delicate, while the skin of the coarse animal is thicker and stiffer. There is also a difference between the two groups - in the age of calving and the duration of pregnancy, when according to the Sage, the duration of pregnancy for the thin animal is 5 months and for the thick one about a year.

Chazal sources discussed the question of the prohibition of breeding as follows: "Why did they not even prohibit a rough (animal)? according to which a decree cannot be passed on the public unless a majority of the public can comply with it. A thin animal can be brought (imported) abroad. A rough animal cannot be brought (imported) from abroad" (Mishnat Avoda Zerah 6:XNUMX). The reason is purely economic. In other words, they excluded the importation of the animal due to its being an object for work and cargo, let alone its exportation.

Sages emphasized as follows: "A place where they used to sell thin cattle to foreigners, a seller." Where they used to not sell, there is no seller. And everywhere they are not allowed to sell rough cattle, whole calves and foals and broken ones (disabled ones). Rabbi Yehuda permits a sheep, and Ben Batira permits a horse" (mishna ibid). The tradition explains, however, that it is a fear that the animal will be taken out for work on Shabbat with the foreign owner, but the economic reason is much clearer. And so is the reason, such as selling land to foreigners, so that they will not be given "parking on the land", which means preventing the takeover of land, although the connection between ... and ... is somewhat problematic.

The above prohibition becomes more clear from the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian, suppressing the revolt of Ben Khosba, at which time fields and vineyards were cleared for grazing, for reasons of profit, and it should be noted that in accordance with the general policy of the Syrian emperors, towards the end of the second century CE, the slaughter of young cattle was prohibited in order to ensure the supply of meat to the city in general, what's more, the consumption of meat in the empire increased considerably during this period.

Proof of the development of the branch in question lies, for example, in the issue of breeding. This is how, for example, Rabbi Yossi HaGalili testified about Aton who did not mate for a long time and then succeeded in mating. Rabbi Yehuda stated that "many oxen came out of one plow, and many donkeys came out of one donkey" (Talmud Babli Bekorot 9 p. XNUMX), and the Sages tell of special criticism of the herd in relation to breeding and attempts at hybridization. Rabbi Shimon testifies about "a camel born from a cow" ” (Tosefta Bekorot XNUMX:XNUMX). Is this an unusual case or "genetic engineering" of the past?

Cows for meat, bulls for bullfighting

There were several weighty factors that encouraged the cultivation of the rough animal:

First of all - from the rebellion of Ben Kusaba onwards, Roman legionnaire soldiers proliferate in the land, as well as the Roman clerks, and these served as a very respectable consumer of beef and transport and cargo animals. The trend of urbanization also contributed to this, in which the consumption of meat and livestock in general increased, and thereby for use in circuses, and Rabbi Yossi testifies about bulls that were bred and raised in the country for the needs of arena entertainment, as well as the expression "Shur Ha'itzeddin" (Mishnat Baba Kama 4:XNUMX). The House of the Presidency, which was strongly associated with the Roman rule in Israel, and especially during the presidency of Rabbi Yehuda) in the Suri era, so much so that it was noted that "of the House of Rabbi (Yehuda the President) they would sacrifice a Passover bull on Yom Idam (on a clear pagan holiday)" Talmud without work Zera XNUMX p. a). Amazing! And no matter how we turn it around, we quibble and cover up, before us is clear idolatry, and on such customs the Sages decreed that a person would give his soul for them, and what is known is that by public will a criminal will be taken down from the gallows.

Secondly - during the Antonine period and later (towards the first half of the second century CE) the burden of the Roman taxes and exceptional services was respected, as part of which the owners of houses and farms were obliged to provide meat to the Roman military and administrative delegation in the land, which was also called "angria" also with regard to donkeys and discerning sage sources In connection with this, between "recurring angria" and "non-recurring angria" (Tosefta Baba Metzia 8-7).

Third - during the period in question, which is also the era of agricultural economic development, rough cattle served as an important means for the benefit of the intensive mixed economy.

Fourth - our period in question was also distinguished by the development of craft and industry, and within this context, cattle served as an important branch for the leather industry and various dairy products. Evidence of a leather industry, probably from cattle breeding, was found at Hippus (Susita).

From the above sections we will understand that in order to respond to the needs and requirements of the army and the Roman bureaucracy in the country, and this by the consumption of livestock for the agricultural economy, we are witnessing a considerable cultivation and growth of the livestock sector and livestock in general in the country. Indeed, one examines the list of sages who treat and discuss the issues of grazing and livestock in Israel, most of them are from the Osa generation and later, namely the Imperial Antonine period, such as Rabbi Shimon who permitted grazing livestock on Yom Tov.

The leading producer of meat for the Roman expeditionary force

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, as we saw above, raised cattle on a large scale in Bashan, the Golan, and the Jezreel Valley, and when, at the same time as Roman rule, the province became the largest producer in the Roman economy, and as in Egypt, the concessions of the province became factories that were forced to supply Rome with produce in the form of regular shipments, providing estates The president, the one who served as general lessee of the imperial lands, vegetables and grazing cattle for the imperial court, such as: "In the Korat (cattle herds) of the parable of the kingdom (imperialism) the rabbi and the quarter of the house of rabbi from it are oxen" (Yerushalmi Talmud Yavmot chapter XNUMX XNUMX p. XNUMX) , or "in the Korat of Antoninus (a controversial figure - perhaps Caesar and perhaps a high-ranking Roman official) there was a fetus and the fourth (m) of Beit Rabbi Menah Shevarin" (ibid.). It should be noted that already in the days of Rabbi Yehuda they used to improve the breeding of bulls.

The sources speak of the separation of a rabbi and his household, such as "mi nachit hama molvata derbi kaimin" (Talmud Yerushalmi Demai chapter XNUMX XNUMX p. XNUMX), which is so significant due to its linguistic proximity to Latin (mulus = separation and indicates a clear Roman influence). The "Mulvata Derbi" is mentioned several times in Sage literature, including the mules of Beit Rabbi and the "Tetramulin" - a structure of four mules, perhaps as a chariot.

It should be noted that the mule is mentioned in Sage sources from the Antonine period onwards, both as a beast of burden, as an agricultural animal and in herding matters, and at the same time it is enriched and confirmed in Roman agricultural literature such as Columella. And knowing about the aforementioned Roman influence with regard to the economy of the Land of Israel in the period in question, such as in the barn with its dimensions similar to the Roman one, we will understand the extent of the widespread appearance of the mule and its many uses in the period in question.   

Another term that explains the aforementioned Roman influence involves the use of the Roman word (a unit of distance) found in Rabbi Hanina's mouth: "Ma'ashe in a caravan (a chariot usually drawn by four horses or mules, or simply an expression for a wandering herd) according to the saying of Beit Rabbi (Yehuda the President ) that sailed more than four miles (about six km)" (Talmud Yerushalmi Avoda Zera chapter XNUMX MDXNUMX page XNUMX). Moreover, the Mishna and the Tosefta, including the proof contained in it about owners of herds that are spread over vast spaces such as in the "Mahir" desert (Machiros in the former Jordan of the East) define the migration areas of the cattle in Roman miles, and strengthen the assumption of the same Roman influence on the subject under discussion. And knowing how much he was involved in matters of industry and commerce, we understand that for this purpose this house needed a large fleet of transport animals, and we also learn from this about the positive coordination that prevailed between the agricultural economy and the livestock economy until a complete complementarity between the two.

A lot of use in agriculture which is expressed in the field of taxation

We can relate the great encouragement to the breeding of rough cattle to its importance and great use in the fields of agriculture and as expressed in the field of taxation. In order to deal with the issue of taxation, the farmers were required to perfect and develop as much as possible the yield of their crops, partly through the cultivation of the rough animal. In the literature of the Sages, only the cow, the cow, and the ox were mentioned as plow animals, and thus according to the hybrid law they noted that the prohibition of plowing hybrids also applies to other animals And animals, and as for the plowed cattle in general, the one who realizes the fertility of the soil and the crop, to teach us that they asked sages to hedge the phenomenon of hybrids and without much success to say the least.

The calf that was intended for plowing would receive appropriate treatment and special foods in order to strengthen it and to prevent the plowing animal from breaking the yoke, the young calf would be trained to carry a light yoke, what is called a "gimon" (the term for the customer from the Latin) and when it is weaned and used to work it is considered an asset. The cow can be taught to plow even from a young age, and at that time it was called a "Radiine cow" (Tosefta 20:XNUMX) in contrast to the usual one for plowing, whose value was more than a "lay cow" that had to be beaten and even wounded with a spur when plowing. .  

Sages required the owners of the cattle to allow it to graze in the field on Shabbat, because the cattle preferred the field to the barn. Usually they would rent the cattle together with the plow and together with it the other parts of the technical items. The main part of the yoke is called "mota", or "moto" in a double yoke. These were usually made of wood and sometimes of metal. The width of the "Sharon yoke" was the width of "three furrows of a fatih" (Mishna Kalaim II 2) and there was a distinction between the yoke of a single animal and the yoke of a pair. In this regard, the Tosefta disagrees with the above-mentioned conditional passage, and this is from Rabbi Haya who lived in the Galilee, where the lands are heavier and therefore a different type of yoke was probably used. There was also a difference between normal yoke and vineyard yoke. It should be noted that the sources go into interesting detail regarding the parts of the yoke and even regarding the ropes that tied the yoke to the plow as well as the cattle trainer called in the Mishnah "Marda" for its various parts, such as "Yad", "Harhor" and "Spur". The above-mentioned interesting specification teaches, apart from the knowledge of the sages of the Sanhedrin on the subject of cattle grazing, and the specification of their knowledge teaches about the subject discussed in general in the era of the Mishnah and the Talmud (see also 1963, Felix, Agriculture in the Land of Israel in the Era of the Mishnah and the Talmud, XNUMX).

Many laws have discussed the extent of the responsibility that applies to the tenant in the event of, for example, damage to the plow or the plowing cow. There is a midrashic text (Safra Ba'kouti, chapter 2) and its language: "The owner of the house who had a plowed cow and lent it to another to plow it. And that man had ten sons, this one came and sowed and sat for him. And he came and plowed and sat for him. Until the cow cowered and wanted her. All the cows entered and that one cow did not enter. He didn't have enough in his mind to accept reconciliation from that man who didn't come immediately and break the yoke and cut the simeons." That is, down to the smallest detail, the halachic judges came down here. The halacha also came to protect the lessee from the lessor who worked his cow too much before the lease, and as a result it was forbidden to "plow with an Arab cow and rent it in the morning" (Tosefta Baba Metziya XNUMX:XNUMX). And probably also out of protection for the animal.

Don't block an ox with a dasho

In addition to plowing, it was found that rough cattle were also used for fattening. Here they used to work in "rebekah", that is - in cattle harnessed together that stepped on the grain in the threshing floor. Sometimes three or even four cattle were added to the Rebecca, and in the mishna the width of the "passi bira'at" was specified, that is, the area next to the water cisterns, which were ruled by the rabbis, about which sages often speak in the period in question, and as we know in the typical Roman villa from the second half of the CE onwards. 

Before the threshing operation they would make sure to wash the feet of the threshing animal and also during the threshing itself. This is how they would prevent the animal from slipping on top of the wet grain, and declared that "the one who rents the cow... to trample the legume and trample the grain - exempt (from any liability), (and if) trample the grain and trample the legume (and the cow's leg is broken) is liable (for compensation and indemnification), because that the little one divides" (Mishnat Baba Metzia 4:3). To prevent this type of malfunctions and accidents, they used to install a special shoe/sandal for the animal so that it would not slip (from the year of Pera 4nd 7). Another problem that arose involved the biblical injunction "You shall not block an ox in its pasture" (Deuteronomy 11:XNUMX) - an instruction that has the meaning of a clear statement, even in other contexts of protection and compassion towards animals. From this the Sages learned the prohibition of blocking "every animal and fowl" during the dishing (from the commentary of Bava Kama XNUMX:XNUMX) and determined that this prohibition only applies to the course of the dishing with a blocked animal and with many exceptions for the minority suffering of the dished animal such as Tosefta Baba Metzia XNUMX:XNUMX). And so they used to prevent the cow from eating grain from crops that are forbidden to cattle and so on in those laws.

To conclude and summarize - from the rebellion of Ben Khosva onwards, many factors worked to cultivate the whole issue of rough cattle such as - the increase in demand for rough cattle due to the increased presence of the Roman legions, the Roman bureaucracy and the phenomenon of growth in urbanization; A response to honoring Hungarian taxes; The phenomenon of the multiplicity of intensive farms involved and the development of craft and industry in relation to rough cattle such as dairy products and leather.

Sages separated the thin animal from the coarse one as this is reflected in the light of the multitude of Sanhedrin laws on this matter such as the question of breeding prohibitions, supervised breeding, ownership of the animal, its rental and especially its elementary rights and more.

It will be noted the involvement of the Presidency in the issue of the rough beast, especially during the time of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi for his numerous connections with the Roman authorities.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

One response

  1. It is amazing how much the Talmudic legislation developed and changed until the end of the Second Temple, during those times, according to each period, new laws were written, old laws were changed, religious commandments were interpreted here and there, and adapted to the spirit of the time...
    Whereas at a certain point, somewhere after the Second Temple, it was "stuck" without the possibility of any change, for two thousand years, until it became what it is today - a collection of laws and rules that are irrelevant and unsuitable for the time, and all that can be done with them is to study and memorize them over and over again just for the purpose of Studying and memorizing and without any benefit or expectation.

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