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Where are the magic cucumbers discussed in the Gemara by a Rabbi proud of his knowledge? Are magic cucumbers discussed elsewhere? Thanks.

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I think they are zucchini. –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 3 '12 at 1:17
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@HachamGabriel: that's what קישואים are in modern Hebrew, true. But since zucchini are (partially) descended from squashes native to America, it's unlikely that those are the vegetables the Gemara is talking about. Aside from cucumbers, I've seen where someone identifies them as a kind of melon. –  Alex Jan 3 '12 at 4:10
    
You learn something new everyday, thank you Alex. –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 3 '12 at 12:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Sanhedrin 68a

These were some of the final words of R' Eliezer, as he lay on his deathbed.

'Moreover, I have studied three hundred, (or, as others state, three thousand laws) about the planting of cucumbers [by magic] and no man, excepting Akiba b. Joseph, ever questioned me thereon. For it once happened that he and I were walking together on a road, when he said to me, "My master, teach me about the planting of cucumbers". I made one statement, and the whole field [about us] was filled with cucumbers. Then he said, "Master, you have taught me how to plant them, now teach me how to pluck them up". I said something and all the cucumbers gathered in one place'

R' Eliezer had been placed under a ban, which lasted until he died, so he was bemoaning the fact that all his specialized knowledge was going to waste.

This story is brought by the Gemara in response to the mishna that Ariel quoted.

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The Mishnah about Magic cucumbers appears in Sanhedrin. It discusses the case of whether a person used an actual maseh or just "achizas enayim" to raise cucumbers:

ז,יא המכשף--העושה מעשה, ולא האוחז את העיניים. רבי עקיבה אומר משום רבי יהושוע, שניים לוקטין קישואים--אחד לוקט ופטור, ואחד לוקט וחייב; העושה מעשה חייב, והאוחז את העיניים פטור.

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I believe these are zucchini. –  Hacham Gabriel Jan 3 '12 at 0:49
    
@HachamGabriel, see comments on the question. –  msh210 Jan 3 '12 at 16:16

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