Women going out on the Sabbath-day are allowed, as the Rabbis teach, to
carry with them a certain stone believed to counteract abortion.
Abaii interrupts his exposition of this Halachah in order to enumerate
certain antidotes to chronic fever which, he says, he had learned from
his mother. Take a new zouz and then procure its weight in sea-salt;
hang this round the neck, suspended by a papyrus fibre, so that it may
rest just in the hollow in front. If this does not answer, go where two
or more roads meet and watch for the first big ant that is going home
loaded; lay hold of it and place it in a brass tube; stop up the end of
the tube with lead, putting as many seals upon it as possible; then
shake it, saying the while, "My load be upon thee, and thine upon me."
To this Rav Acha, the son of Rav Hunna, objected to Rav Ashi, and asked,
"Might not the ant have been already laden with another man's fever?"
"True," observed the other; "nevertheless let him say, 'My load be upon
thee as well as thine own.'" If this be not effective, then take a new
earthenware pot, and going to the nearest stream, say, "Stream, stream,
lend me a pot full of water for one who is on a visit to me." Wave it
seven times round thy head and then throw the water back again, saying,
"Stream, stream, take back thy borrowed water for my guest came and went
the same day."
Rav Hunna then adds a prescription for a tertian fever, and Rabbi
Yochanan gives the following as effective against a burning fever:--Take
an iron knife, and having fastened a papyrus fibre to the nearest
bramble, cut off a piece and say, "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to
him in a flame of fire," etc., as in Exod. iii. 2. On the morrow cut off
another piece and say, "The Lord saw that he (the fever) turned aside;"
then upon the third day say, "Draw not hither," and stooping down, pray,
"Bush, bush! the Holy One--blessed be He!--caused His Shechinah to lodge
upon thee, not because thou art the loftiest, for thou art the lowest of
all trees; and as when thou didst see the fire of Hananiah, Mishael, and
Azariah, thou didst flee therefrom, so see the fire (fever) of this
sufferer and flee from it."
THE TALMUD, _Shabbath_, fol. 66, col. 2, etc.