Shabbat 111 - Aches and pains

Even if one has toothache, he should not sip vinegar (slightly spoiled wine). Vinegar strengthens the gums, and therefore sipping it, obviously done for health reasons, is forbidden. However, one can dip bread in vinegar while eating - since it was normal for people to dip their bread in vinegar - and if he is thereby cured, then he is cured.

If one feels pain in his loins, he should not smear them with wine or vinegar. These liquids are not commonly used for anointment, and thus his intention is obvious. However, he can apply oil to his skin, since normal, and not only sick people, do so. He should not use rose oil though unless he is a prince, that is, a son of a prominent or a rich person, because princes use rose oil even on weekdays, and it is not apparent that he is doing this only for therapeutic reason. Rabbi Shimon says that all Israel are considered princes, and thus they all can anoint themselves with rose oil on Shabbat.

Rava said: "The law is like Rabbi Shimon, but not for his reason." What does he mean? Rava does not agree that all Israel are princes, but he permits using rose all in those locales where it is common - and in Rava's locale it was indeed common, so he allowed everyone to use rose oil on Shabbat.

Art: Jan Matejko - Stanczyk Faking a Toothache