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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath
Rabbi imposed liability only in the case of a covered-in private domain, for we say that a house is as though it were full,1 but not in one which is uncovered. And should you answer, Here too [in our Mishnah it speaks of] it as covered, [I might retort] that is well of a covered private ground, but is one liable for a covered public ground? Did not R. Samuel b. Judah say in the name of R. Abba in the name of R. Huna in Rab's name: If one carries an article four cubits in covered public ground, he is not liable, because it is not like the banners of the wilderness?2 — Rather, said R. Zera, the authority of this is the 'others.'3 For it was taught: Others say: If he stands still in his place and catches it, he [the thrower] is liable; if he moves from his place and catches it, he [the thrower] is exempt.4 [Now it states], 'If he stands in his place and catches it, he [the thrower] is liable', — but surely there must be depositing on an area four [handbreadths square], which is absent! Hence this proves that we [i.e., 'others'] do not require a place four by four. Yet perhaps only depositing [on such an area] is not required, but removal [from such] may be necessary? And even in respect to depositing too: perhaps it means that he spread out his garment and caught it, so that there is also depositing [on such an area]? — Said R. Zera: Our Mishnah also means that he removes it [the article] from a basket and places it in a basket, so that there is depositing too [in a place four square]. But HIS HAND is stated? — Learn: a basket in HIS HAND. Now, that is well of a basket in a private domain; but a basket in public ground ranks as a private domain?5 Must we then say that it does not agree with R. Jose son of R. Judah? For it was taught: R. Jose son of R. Judah said: If one fixes a rod in the street, at the top of which is a basket, [and] throws [an article] and it comes to rest upon it, he is liable.6 For if it agrees with R. Jose son of R. Judah, WHERE THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE STRETCHES HIS HAND WITHOUT AND PLACES [AN OBJECT] IN THE POOR MAN'S HAND, why is he LIABLE? Surely he [merely] carries it from private ground to private ground! — You may even say [that it agrees with] R. Jose son of R. Judah: There it is above ten [handbreadths];7 here it is below ten.8 This9 presented a difficulty to R. Abbahu: Is then 'a basket in his hand' taught: surely HIS HAND [alone] is stated! Rather, said R. Abbahu, it means that he lowered his hand to within three handbreadths [of the ground] and accepted it.10 But HE STANDS is taught!11 — It refers to one who bends down. Alternatively, [he is standing] in a pit; another alternative: this refers to a dwarf. Raba demurred: Does the Tanna trouble to inform us of all these!12 Rather, said Raba, A man's hand is accounted to him as [an area) four by four. And thus too, when Rabin came,13 he said in R. Johanan's name: A man's hand is accounted to him as [an area] four by four.
R. Abin said in the name of R. Elai in R. Johanan's name: If one throws an article and it alights on his neighbour's hand, he is liable. What does he inform us? [that] a man's hand is accounted to him as [an area] four by four! But surely R. Johanan already stated it once? — You might argue. That is only when he himself accounts his hand such,14 but where he does not account his hand as such,15 I might say [that it is] not [so]. Therefore we are informed [otherwise].
R. Abin said in R. Elai's name in the name of R. Johanan: If he [the recipient stands still in his place and catches it, [the thrower] is liable; if he moves from his place and catches it, he [the thrower] is exempt. It was taught likewise: Others say: If he stands still in his place and catches it, he [the thrower] is liable; if he moves from his place and catches it, he [the thrower] is exempt.16 R. Johanan propounded: What if he throws an article and himself moves from his place, and catches it? What is his problem?17 — Said R. Ada b. Ahaba: His problem concerns two forces in the same man: are two forces in the same man accounted as the action of one man, hence he is liable, or perhaps they count as the action of two men?18 The question stands over.
R. Abin said in R. Johanan's name: If he puts his hand into his neighbour's courtyard and receives [some] rain, and then withdraws it, he is liable. R. Zera demurred: What does it matter whether his neighbour loads him19 or Heaven loads him; he himself did not effect removal? — Do not say, he [passively] receives rain, but, he catches it up.20 But removal must be from a place four [square], which is absent? — Said R. Hiyya son of R. Huna: E.g., he catches it up [as it rebounds] from the wall. But even on the wall, it does not rest there?21 — It is as Raba22 said [elsewhere], It refers to a sloping wall; so here too it refers to a sloping wall. Now, where was Raba's [dictum] said? — In connection with the following. For we learnt:
If he is reading a scroll on a threshold, and it rolls out of his hand,1 he may rewind it to himself.2 If one is reading on the top of a roof,3 and the scroll rolls out of his hand, — before it comes within ten handbreadths [of the ground] he may wind it back himself;4 if it comes within ten handbreadths, he must turn the written side inwards.5 Now, we pondered thereon: why must he turn the written side inwards, surely it did not come to rest?6 and Raba answered: This refers to a sloping wall.7 Yet may it not be urged that Raba said this [only] of a scroll, whose nature it is to rest [where it falls]; but is it the nature of water to rest?8 Rather, said Raba, [R. Johanan spoke of a case] where he collected [the rain] from the top of a [water] hole. 'A hole'! But then it is obvious? — You might argue, Water upon water is not at rest;9 [therefore] he [R. Johanan] informs us [that it is].
Now Raba follows his opinion. For Raba said: Water [lying] upon water, that is its [natural] rest; a nut upon water, that is not its [natural] rest.10 Raba propounded: If a nut [lies] in a vessel, and the vessel floats on water,11 do we regard the nut, which is at rest,12 or the vessel, which is not at rest, since it is unstable? The question stands over.
In respect to oil floating upon wine R. Johanan b. Nuri and the Rabbis differ. For we learnt: If oil is floating upon wine13 and a tebul yom14 touches the oil, he disqualifies the oil only. R. Johanan b. Nuri said: Both are attached to each other.15
R. Abin said in R. Elai's name in the name of R. Johanan: If one is laden with food and drink and goes in and out all day,16 he is liable only when he stands still.17 Said Abaye: Providing that he stands still to rest.18 How do you know it? — Because a Master said: Within four cubits, if he stops to rest, he is exempt; to shoulder his burden, he is liable. Beyond four cubits, if he stops to rest, he is liable; to rearrange his burden, he is exempt.19 What does he [R. Johanan] inform us — that the original removal was not for this purpose?20 But R. Johanan stated it once. For R. Safra said in R. Ammi's name in R. Johanan's name: If one is carrying articles from corner to corner [in private ground] and then changes his mind and carries them out, he is exempt, because his original removal was not for this purpose? — It is dependent on Amoraim: one stated it in the former version; the other stated it in the latter version.21
Our Rabbis taught: If one carries [an article] from a shop to an open space via a colonnade,22 he is liable; but Ben 'Azzai holds him not liable. As for Ben 'Azzai, it is well: he holds that walking is like standing.23 But according to the Rabbis, granted that they hold that walking is not like standing, yet where do we find liability for such a case?24 — Said R. Safra in the name of R. Ammi in R. Johanan's name:
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