John 7:23

New Testament

21 Jesus replied, “I performed one miracle and you are all amazed. 22 However, because Moses gave you the practice of circumcision (not that it came from Moses, but from the forefathers), you circumcise a male child on the Sabbath. 23 But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.” 25 Then some of the residents of Jerusalem began to say, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?

Yoma 85b

Babylonian Talmud

but to preserve a life, e.g., if the priest can testify to the innocence of one who is sentenced to death, one removes him even from on top of My altar, even while he is sacrificing an offering. Just as this priest, about whom there is uncertainty whether there is substance to his words of testimony or whether there is no substance to his words, is taken from the Temple service in order to save a life, and Temple service overrides Shabbat, so too, a fortiori, saving a life overrides Shabbat. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya answered and said: Just as the mitzva of circumcision, which rectifies only one of the 248 limbs of the body, overrides Shabbat, so too, a fortiori, saving one’s whole body, which is entirely involved in mitzvot, overrides Shabbat.

 Notes and References

"... The first method is called qal vahomer 'light and heavy.' It is an inference from a minor to a major point: what can be said of a can even more be said of b (which is greater than a). In John 7:23, this method appears to be used... In this argument, the healing of a man’s entire body is viewed as a greater deed than the act of circumcising a small part of a man’s body (permitted on the sabbath, Mishnah Nedarim 3:11; Shabbat 18:3; 19:1-2; along with, e.g., certain feasts, temple observance). Jesus, however, has done even a greater or more praiseworthy deed on the sabbath (that certainly should be permitted on the sabbath.) A more stringent case for sabbath observance was made in a similar mode of argumentation: 'If circumcision, which affects one of our 248 members, overrides the sabbath, how much more must the body override the sabbath' (b. Yoma 85a-b; compare Tosefta Shabbat 15:16) ..."

Puskas, Charles & Robbins, Michael Conceptual Worlds of the Fourth Gospel: Intertextuality and Early Reception (p. 134) Cascade Books, 2021

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