John 9:16

New Testament

13 They brought the man who used to be blind to the Pharisees. 14 (Now the day on which Jesus made the mud and caused him to see was a Sabbath.) 15 So the Pharisees asked him again how he had gained his sight. He replied, “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and now I am able to see.” 16 Then some of the Pharisees began to say, “This man is not from God because he does not observe the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” Thus there was a division among them. 17 So again they asked the man who used to be blind, “What do you say about him, since he caused you to see?” “He is a prophet,” the man replied.

Avodah Zarah 28b

Babylonian Talmud

Rav Yehuda continues: But was it of my own accord that I issued this ruling? It is the ruling of Mar Shmuel, as demonstrated in the following incident: There was a certain maidservant who was in the house of Mar Shmuel whose eye became infected on Shabbat. She screamed in pain, but there was no one who attended to her. Eventually, her eye popped out of its socket. The next day, Mar Shmuel went out and taught: With regard to an eye that rebelled, it is permitted to apply blue eye shadow to it on Shabbat. What is the reason for this leniency, seeing as one may desecrate Shabbat only to treat life-threatening afflictions? The reason is that the tendons [shuraynei] of the eye are dependent upon the valves of the heart. The Gemara asks: What ailment of the eye, for example, is considered life-threatening? Rav Yehuda said: For example, any of the following: Abnormal discharge; the sensation of pricking; blood flow from the eye; excessive tearing; and inflammation; and the onset of infection. This list serves to exclude the final stages of a waning infection that is mostly healed, and the opening of the eye, i.e., treatment administered to improve one’s eyesight, which are not life-threatening and therefore one is not permitted to treat them on Shabbat. Rav Yehuda says: With regard to one who suffers from the sting of a hornet, or the prick of a thorn [silva], or an abscess, or one whose eye pains him, or one overcome by a fever, bathing in a bathhouse is a life-threatening danger for all of these. Additionally, eating radish [ḥamma] is good for a fever [ḥamma], and eating beets [silka] is good for chills [tzina], but the reverse, i.e., eating radish when one has chills or beets when one has a fever, poses a danger. Similarly, eating hot foods is good for the sting of a scorpion, and cold foods are good for a hornet sting, but the reverse poses a danger. Hot water is good for a thorn embedded in one’s skin, and cold water is good

 Notes and References

"... The Tannaim (sages of first- to third-century Palestine) would have been exposed to and part of the “visually voracious” Roman world; some of their writings evidence critiques of this world that are similar to those in Christian apologetic texts. Greco-Jewish and rabbinic texts point to a similar simultaneous deployment and critique of visuality, often put in highly gendered terms, in order to advocate for a restrained sexuality. The eye is thus presented as a stumbling block to this restraint, very much in need of training ... As we move to later sources, we find rabbis thinking about specula and catatropics, considering divine visibility, discussing optical illusions (ah. izat ‘enayim) and distortion, and considering telescopic vision along with a surprising variety of eye diseases and treatments. Palestinian and Babylonian sources alike document a variety of traditions regarding the eye and its diseases. Mar Samuel is a figure around whom medical traditions conglomerate, including a fair amount on eye treatments. He is said to have regarded eye treatment as imperative and even worth doing in violation of the Sabbath because of his theory that the veins of the eyes are connected to the heart. (b. Avodah Zarah 28b) Palestinian rabbis consider humans to be like angels but unlike animals because they have peripheral vision. The evil eye presents a concern for Palestinian and Babylonian rabbis alike ..."

Neis, Rachel The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity (pp. 39-40) Cambridge University Press, 2013

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