R. Zera in the name of R. Jehudah said: The benches in front of pillars are regarded as unclaimed ground (even if they are ten spans high and four spans wide). The one who holds that the space between the pillars is considered as such, will so much the more agree that the benches in front of the pillars are considered such; but he who says that the benches are so considered, may hold that this is so because the encroachment upon them is not regarded with favor. The ground between the pillars, however, which is usually trodden by many people, is like public ground.

Rabba b. Shila in the name of R. Hisda said: If one throw or plaster (an adhesible) thing against the side of a brick that is standing up in the street, he is culpable; but if he throw or plaster a thing on top of it, he is not. Abayi and Rabha both said: Provided the brick is three spans high, so that people do not step upon it; with bushes or briars, however, even if less than three spans high, one is not culpable. And Hyya bar Rabh said: Even a bush or briar must be three spans high. 1

Rabba, of the school of R. Shila, said: When R. Dimi came from Palestine, he said in the name of R. Johanan: No space can be considered unclaimed ground unless it has an area of four spans square, and R. Shesheth added that it holds good up to ten spans square. What does it mean? Shall we assume that only if it has a partition of ten spans it is unclaimed ground? Has not R. Giddell in the name of R. Hyya bar Joseph, quoting

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[paragraph continues]Rabh, said: A house that is not ten spans high, but which is raised to that height by the ceiling, one may handle on the roof over its entire area; inside of the house, however, only within four ells square? Therefore we must say that the statement: “It holds good up to ten spans,” implies that the law of unclaimed ground is valid when the height does not exceed ten spans. As Samuel said to R. Jehudah: “Ingenious scholar! treat not on laws of the Sabbath exceeding ten spans in height.” And to what does it apply? To private ground it could not apply, as it is known that private ground is so considered to the sky; hence it is only to unclaimed ground that above ten spans does not exist, as the rabbis have invested unclaimed grounds with the lenient regulations pertaining to private ground–viz.: If the place have an area of four spans square, it is unclaimed ground; if it has a lesser area, it is not subservient to any jurisdiction. And with the lenient regulations of public ground–viz.: The place is regarded as unclaimed ground only to the height of ten spans; beyond that it ceases to be unclaimed ground.

The text says: “In a house the inside of which is not ten spans high,” etc. Said Abayi: If, however, one has cut in it an excavation four ells square, so as to complete the height of ten spans, one may handle things freely in the whole house. Why so? Because in such a case the entire space of the house (around the excavation) would be considered like holes on private ground, and it has been taught that such holes are regarded the same as the private ground itself. As to holes on public ground, Abayi said: They are like public ground. Rabha, however, says that they are not. Said Rabha to Abayi: According to your theory, holes on public ground are to be considered the same as the ground itself. In which respect, then, does this case differ from what R. Dimi said above (p. 8) in the name of R. Johanan? Let, according to thy opinion, such a corner be considered as a hole in public ground. Nay, the use of the corner is not considered favorable by people, while no one objects to the use of a hole in the street.

R. Hisda said: If a person erected a pole on private ground and threw something at it, if that thing rested on top of the pole, and be that pole a hundred ells high, the person is culpable, for private ground is absolutely unlimited in height. Shall we assume that R. Hisda holds in accordance with Rabbi of the following Boraitha: “If one threw a thing (in

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the street) and it rested upon the smallest cornice 1 (of a house), according to Rabbi he is culpable, and the schoolmen say that he is not.” Said Abayi: In private ground all admit the decision of R. Hisda. The case, however, in which Rabbi and the sages differ was a tree that stands on private ground with its branches reaching out into public ground, and one threw a thing which rested on a branch. Rabbi holds that the branch is part and parcel of the root, but the sages opine that we need not assume such to be the case.

Abayi said: If one threw a bee-hive which was ten spans high, but not six spans wide, into the street, he is culpable; if, however, the bee-hive was six spans wide, he is free (because it is considered a piece of private ground in itself). Rabha, however, said he is not, even if it be less than six spans wide. Why so? Because it is impossible for twined reed not to exceed the given height. 2 In case he threw the bee-hive 3 with its mouth down, even if the hive is a trifle over seven spans high, he is culpable; but if it is seven and a half spans high, he is not. R. Ashi, however, said: He is, even if it is seven and a half spans high. Why so? Because the enclosing rim of the bee-hive is made for the purpose of containing something within, and not to be attached to the ground; hence it is not included in the Lavud class. 4

Ula said: A post nine spans high, which stands in the street, and people use it to shoulder (their burdens) on, if one threw a thing and it rested on the top of it, he is culpable. Why so? Because a thing that is less than three spans high is stepped upon by many; a thing between three and nine spans high is not used either to step or to shoulder a burden on; but if it is nine spans high, it is surely used to shoulder burdens on.

Abayi questioned R. Joseph: What is the law of a pit (of similar depth)? Said he: The same (as of the post). Rabba,

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however, said: A pit of similar depth is not governed by the same law. Why so? Because the use (which is made of a thing) through compulsion is not called (a customary) use.

R. Adda bar Mathna objected to Rabha from the following Boraitha: If one intended to keep the Sabbath on public ground and deposited his Erubh in a pit less than ten spans (below the ground), his act is valid. “If he deposited it more than ten spans below the ground, his Erubh is of no value.” Let us see how was the case. If the pit was more than ten spans deep, and by the saying “he deposited it less than ten spans below the ground” is meant that he raised the Erubh to a higher place, and by the saying “more than ten spans” is meant on the bottom of the pit, then, at all events, the Erubh could not be of any value; as he is in public ground, and his Erubh is in private, therefore we must say that the case was of a pit less than ten spans deep, and nevertheless the Erubh is valid; hence we see that the use of a place through compulsion can at times be considered as customary use.

The answer was that the Boraitha is according to Rabbi, who says that against things which are prohibited only rabbinically because of rest (Shebuoth) no precautionary measures are taken when they are to be done at twilight, and the prescribed time for depositing an Erubh is twilight; therefore, although the use of the pit which was less than ten spans deep was compulsory, the Erubh was nevertheless valid, because respecting twilight the rabbis are not particular.

R. Jehudah said: If one moves a bundle of reeds by raising one end and throwing it over, then raising the other end and throwing it over, he is not culpable, unless he lifts the entire bundle off the ground.

The master said: “A man standing on the door-step,” etc. What is that step? If it is the step of the street, how may he “take from the master of the house”; does he not transfer from private ground into public ground? If it is the step of the house, how may he “take from the mendicant (standing in the street)”? Does he not transfer from public into private ground? And if it is unclaimed ground, how may he “take and give intentionally,” since a direct prohibition to that effect exists?

Nay, the door-step is a place concerning which the law has no provision; as, for instance, it is not four spans square. It is said elsewhere by R. Dimi in the name of R. Johanan that such a thing is not under the jurisdiction.

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The master said: “All three are not culpable.” Would this not be an objection to Rabha, who said if one transfer an object (in public ground) from one to the other limit of four spans, even if he moves it over his head (i.e., above ten spans from the ground), he is culpable? In the above-mentioned case, however, he is not.

Anonymous teachers say “a door-step,” etc. Is such the case even if there is no side-beam to it? Has not R. Hamma bar Gorion in the name of Rabh said that if it is inside the door, and not even four spans square, there must still be a side-beam to make it a free place? Said R. Judah in the name of Rabh: Here the doorstep of an alley is treated of, the half of which is roofed, and the other half not roofed, and the roofing is toward the inside. In this case when the door is open it is considered like the inside, when it is closed it is like the outside. R. Ashi, however, said: The case was of a door-step of a house, but the door was topped by two beams, each of which was less than four spans wide, and between them the space was less than three spans wide, the door itself being in the middle, so that the law of Lavud applies only when the door is open, and not when it is closed; therefore when it is open the door-step is considered as the inside, and when it is closed the door-step is regarded as the outside.

“If the door-step is ten spans high,” etc. This supports the theory of R. Isaac bar Abbimi, who said that R. Mair used to say: Wherever thou findest two distinct grounds belonging to the same premises (i.e., to which the law of premises regarding the Sabbath applies equally), like a post in private ground, that is ten spans high and four wide, it is prohibited to shoulder (a burden) on it. As a precautionary measure (enacted by the rabbis), for fear that the same would be done with a rock of the same size that may be found in the street, and it is biblically prohibited to shoulder upon it.

MISHNA II.: One shall not sit down 1 before the hair-cutter at the approach of the time for afternoon devotion, 2 before

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reciting his prayers. Nor shall he enter a bath-room or a tannery (the same is the case with any factory or large business), or sit down to eat, or start pleading a case (before a judge). But if he has started, he need not be interrupted. One must quit his work to read Shema, but he need not stop working in order to pray.

GEMARA: What time of Min’ha does the Mishna mean? Does it mean the high afternoon 1 time? Why should a man not be allowed, since the day is still young? Does it mean the lesser time, and still hold that (if the man had started the work) he need not discontinue it? Shall this be taken as an objection to the opinion of R. Joshua ben Levi, who said: “When the time of afternoon prayer draws nigh, one must not partake of anything before performing his devotion”? Nay, he speaks here of the high time, and yet one shall not begin cutting his hair, as a precaution against accidents, lest his scissors break; a bath to sweat, lest he grow exhausted; a tannery, lest he notice some damage to his wares and become confused; nor shall he sit down to eat lest the meal be protracted; pleading a case of justice, lest argument be advanced that overthrows all previous arguments, and until all this is settled the. Min’ha prayer will be forgotten.

From what moment does the act of hair-cutting begin? Said R. Abhin: From the moment the barber’s cloth is spread over him. The act of bathing begins from the moment the coat is pulled off; tanning begins from the moment the working-apron is tied around the shoulders; a meal begins from the moment the hands are washed, so said Rabh; but R. Hanina said, from the moment one takes off his girdle. And they do not differ. Rabh spoke of the custom of his country, and R. Hanina spoke of the custom of his country.

Abayi said: According to him who holds that the evening prayer is discretionary, our Babylon colleagues, as soon as they take off their girdle for the meal, they must not be troubled to pray before meal; however, according to him who holds that even this prayer is obligatory, they must be troubled. But is

p. 15

not the afternoon prayer obligatory by all means, and nevertheless our Mishna teaches that “if he began (his meal) he need not be interrupted,” to which R. Hanina said that the loosening of the girdle (is the beginning)? In the case of the afternoon prayer, since the time for it is fixed, (we assume) that the man will hasten and will not fail to pray in time, while for evening prayer, the time for which extends through the entire night, it is feared that he may not hasten, and neglect it.

R. Shesheth opposed: Is it so much trouble to put on one’s girdle? Furthermore, cannot one stand up (without a girdle) and pray? Nay! As it is written: “Prepare thyself to meet thy God, O Israel!” [Amos, iv. 12]; and as Rabha b. R. Huna used to put on stockings when he stood up to recite prayers, saying: It is written: “Prepare thyself,” etc. Rabha, however, used to throw off his mantle and fold his hands when he prayed, speaking as a slave before his master. R. Ashi said: I have observed R. Kahana. In times of trouble he threw off his mantle and folded his hands when he prayed, speaking like a slave before his master. In times of peace he dressed and fitted himself up carefully, saying: “It is written, Prepare thyself to meet thy God, O Israel.” Rabha noticed that R. Hamnuna spent much time at his prayers. Said he: “Thus they quit eternal life and busy themselves with transient life.” 1 He, R. Hamnuna, however, thought that the time spent in prayer is a thing by itself, and the time devoted to study is also a thing by itself. R. Jeremiah was sitting before R. Zera discussing a Halakha. The day was breaking and time for prayer came, and R. Jeremiah hastened for the purpose of praying. Said R. Zera to him: “When one turneth away his ear so as not to listen to the law, even his prayer becometh an abomination” [Prov. xxviii. 9].

At what moment does the work of dispensing justice commence? R. Jeremiah and R. Jonah–one said: “From the moment the judges put on their mantles”; the other said: “From the moment the litigants begin pleading.” And they do not differ. The former speaks of the instance of opening court; the latter of the instance when the court was in session and the judges were engaged in deciding other cases.

Up to what time should court be in session? R. Shesheth

p. 16

said: “Up to meal time.” Said R. Hama: From what scriptural passage have we this? From “Happy art thou, O land! when thy king is noble-spirited, and thy princes eat in proper time, for strengthening and not for gluttony!” [Eccl. x. 17]; i.e., for the strength of the law and not for indulgence in wine.

The rabbis taught: The first hour (of the day) is the time the Lydians eat (the Lydians were cannibals); in the second hour robbers eat; in the third hour (rich) heirs eat; the fourth hour is eating-time for the people in general; in the fifth hour laborers eat; in the sixth hour scholars eat; from the last hour onward, eating is like throwing a stone into a barrel (rather injurious than beneficial). Said Abayi: This is the case only when one has tasted nothing in the morning; but if he did so, it does not matter.

R. Ada bar Ahba said: One may say his prayers in a new bath-room, which has not been used. R. Hamnuna said in the name of Ula: One is not permitted to call Shalom to another man in a bath-room, for it is written: “He called the Eternal Shalom” [Judges, vi. 23]. 1 If so, the saying of the word “faith” should also be prohibited, for it is written, “the faithful God” [Deut. vii. 9]. And lest one say so it is, has not Rabha bar Mehassia said in the name of R. Hama bar Gorion, quoting Rabh, that “faith” may be mentioned? In the latter case the name itself is not so designated, as it means as it is translated above. But in the former case it (Shalom) is a designation of the name itself.

The same says again in the name of the same authority: If one bestows a gift on his friend, he should let him know it; as it is written: “To know that I, the Eternal, made you holy” [Ex. xxxi. 13]. And there is a Boraitha which states as follows: “The Holy One, blessed be He, said unto Moses, I have a good gift in my storehouse; its name is Sabbath, which I wish to bestow on Israel; go and announce it to them.” From this R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said: One who gives a child some bread should announce it to its mother. How shall he do this? Said Abayi: He should put some ointment around its eyes and stain it with dye.

Is this so? Has not R. Hama b. Hanina said: He who bestows a gift on his friend need not announce it to him, for it is written: “Moses knew not,” etc. [Ex. xxxiv. 29]. This

p. 17

presents no difficulty. The latter instance represents a thing that is to become known by itself; the former instance treats of a thing that cannot become known by itself.

But was not the Sabbath a thing that was to become known? Aye, but the reward (for keeping the Sabbath holy) that attends it was not to be known.

R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohayi said: All the commands that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave unto Israel, were given with publicity, excepting the Sabbath, which was given in privacy, for it is written: “Between me and the children of Israel it is an everlasting sign” [Ex. xxxi. 17]. If such is the case, the idolaters need not be punished for its sake. The Sabbath was made known, but the additional soul (a new impetus of life) which comes with the Sabbath was not made known to them. Thus R. Simeon b. Lakish said: “The Holy One, blessed be He, bestows an additional soul on man on the eve of the Sabbath, and takes it back again when the Sabbath departs.” 1

R. Hisda held in his hand two gifts 2 from the flesh of an ox, and said: “I will give this to the man who will tell me some new teaching in the name of Rabh.” Said Rabha b. Mehassia to him, thus taught Rabh: “He who bestows a gift on a friend should let him know it.” And R. Hisda gave him the meat. Said the former again: Art thou so fond of the teachings of Rabh? “Aye, aye,” he answered. Said he: This is like that which Rabh said: A silk garment is precious to the wearer. Rejoined R. Hisda: Did Rabh indeed say so? This second thing is even better than the first; if I had other gifts I would bestow them too.

Rabha b. Mehassia in the name of the same said again: One should never show preference for one child above his other children, as for the sake of two selas’ weight of silk, which Jacob bestowed on Joseph in preference to his other sons, the brothers became jealous of Joseph, and the development brought about our ancestors’ migration into Egypt.

Again he continued: One should always endeavor to seek a dwelling in a city of recent settlement, for the settlement being recent, the sins are few. As it is written: “Behold, this city is

p. 18

near to flee thereunto, and it is little” [Gen. xix. 20]. What does it mean, it is near and small? Could not he see this himself? But it means its settlement is recent and therefore its sins are not many.

The same said again: A city whose roofs are higher than that of the synagogue will ultimately be destroyed, as it is written: “To raise high the house of our God,” etc. [Ezra, ix. 9]. However, this refers only to the roofs of the houses, but as to the tops of towers and palaces, it does not concern them. Said R. Ashi: I have prevented Matha Mehassia from being destroyed (as he had made the prayer-house and the college higher than other houses). But was it not destroyed later? Yea, but not for this sin.

He also said: 1 It is better to be dependent on an Israelite than on an idolater; on an idolater than on a Persian; on a Persian schoolman 2 than on a scholar; on a scholar than on a widow or an orphan.

He also said: Rather any sickness than sickness of the bowels; rather any pain than pain of the heart; rather any disorder than a disorder in the head; rather any evil than a bad wife.

Again he said: If all the seas were ink, if all the swamps were producing pens, if the whole expanse of the horizon were parchment, and all the men were scribes, the (thoughts that fill the) void of a ruler’s heart could not be written in full. Whence is this deduced? Said R. Mesharsia: “The heavens as to height and the earth as to depth, and the hearts of kings cannot be fathomed” [Prov. xxv. 3].

To read Shema,” etc. Was it not stated before that they need not be interrupted? This sentence applies to study, as we have learned in a Boraitha: “Scholars that are engaged in studying the Law must stop for the reading of Shema, but they need not stop for prayer.” Said R. Johanan: Such is the case with men like R. Simeon b. Yo’hai and his colleagues, for learning was their profession; but men like ourselves must stop for prayer also. But have we not learned in a Boraitha: “As (students) need not quit (their studies) for prayer, so they need not stop them for Shema”? This applies only to the study of

p. 19

the establishment of leap year; as R. Ada b. Ahba, and so also the sages of Hagrunia in the name of R. Elazar b. Zadok, declared: “When we were engaged in fixing a leap year at Yabne, we did not quit (our work) either for Shema or for prayer.”

MISHNA III.: A tailor shall not go out with his needle when it is nearly dark on Friday, lest he forget and go out (carrying it about with him) after dark; nor a scribe with his pen; nor shall one search for vermin in his garments or read before the lamp-light (Friday night). Of a verity it is said, an instructor may follow the children when they read, but he shall not read himself (before the lamp-light). In a similar manner it is said that one afflicted with gonorrhœa should not eat from the same plate with a woman that has the same disease, lest they become accustomed to one another and come to sin.








9:1 Any space that is less than ten spans high from the ground is considered by the law as unclaimed ground, and there things may be handled on the Sabbath only as above, while on private ground things may be handled freely within the whole area over which it extends.

11:1 The cornice which is spoken of above should be like the branch in this instance.

11:2 The space above ten spans does not enter within the jurisdiction of public ground.

11:3 Here a bee-hive is spoken of which is not six spans in circumference, i.e., less than four spans square.

11:4 There is a law of Mosaic origin determining that every object that is not farther from the ground than three spans must be considered “Lavud,” i.e., attached to the ground. In the above case, when a bee-hive seven spans or a trifle over seven spans high is thrown to the ground, it does not become positively “Lavud” when within three spans from the ground, and is thus considered ten spans in all. The margin is too small. It must be seven and a half spans high, and when reaching the ground within three spans the hive becomes “Lavud,” and being positively over ten spans high is treated as a piece of private property.

13:1 The reference made here, that one should not sit down before the hair-cutter near the time for the afternoon prayer is a simple precaution. The exact specification for the time is to be found in Berachoth, Perek IV., M. 1.

13:2 The following discussions may seem to have no direct connection with the ordinances pertaining to the Sabbath; however, they are included in the tract on account of their connection with the succeeding Mishna, which commences: “A tailor shall not go out with his needle when it is nearly dark on Friday.” Incidentally, the injunctions concerning the time for the Min’ha are given, in order that prayer time shall not be forgotten.

14:1 High afternoon (Min’ha) was the time when the regular afternoon sacrifice was offered at the temple, about an hour after midday. The lesser afternoon time was about an hour before sunset. Because the time for afternoon devotion was calculated by the offering of the “gift-sacrifice,” the name of that sacrifice, “Min’ha,” is used by the rabbis as a technical term to designate both the afternoon devotion and the time when it is to be performed.

15:1 The rabbi thus regarded prayer as a thing belonging to transient life, because it benefits only the individual. Study, on the other hand, is regarded as an object that concerns eternal life, for by its results future generations may be benefited.

16:1 Translated literally. Leeser, however, translates differently according to the sense, but his translation is not correct.

17:1 Transposed from Tract Betzah, p. 16b.

17:2 He was an Aaronite, and in his time they used to give the Aaronites their meat-offerings. In the time of R. Hisda the descendants of the priests still received their titles.

18:1 These somewhat abstruse distinctions are made for the reason that a dependent of a scholar, orphan, or widow is liable to incur greater punishment for an injury done his master than were his master an Ishmaelite, Persian, etc.

18:2 The title “Habher” is the exact equivalent of “fellowship” as a college position in our time; we translate it “schoolman.”


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