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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 8a

— Said Abaye: In the case of private ground none differ, agreeing with R. Hisda. But here the reference is to a tree standing in private ground, while a branch inclines to the street, and one throws [an article] and it alights on the branch: Rabbi holds, We say, Cast the branch after its trunk; but the Rabbis maintain, We do not say, Cast the branch after its trunk.1

Abaye said: If one throws a bin2  into the street, [even] if it is ten [handbreadths] high but not six broad, he is liable; if six broad, he is exempt.3  Raba said: Even if it is not six broad, he is [still] exempt. What is the reason? It is impossible for a piece of cane not to project above ten.4  If he overturns it,5  mouth downwards, [and throws it], then if it is a shade more than seven [in height] he is liable; if seven and a half, he is exempt.6  R. Ashi said: Even if it is seven and a half, he is liable. What is the reason? The walls are made for their contents.7

'Ulla said: If there is a column nine [handbreadths high] in the street, and the public rest and rearrange their burdens thereon,8  and one throws [an object] and it alights upon it, he is liable. What is the reason? If it is less than three, the multitude step upon it;9  from three to nine, they neither walk upon it nor arrange their burdens upon it;10  nine, they certainly re-arrange their burdens upon it.11  Abaye asked R. Joseph: What of a pit?12  — He replied: The same holds good of a pit. Raba said: It does not hold good of a pit. What is the reason? Service through difficulty is not designated service.13

R. Adda b. Mattenah raised an objection before Raba: If one's basket is lying in the street, ten [handbreadths] high and four broad,14  one may not move an object] from it into the street or from the street into it; but if less, one may carry; and the same applies to a pit. Surely that refers to the second clause?15  — No: to the first clause.

He raised an objection:

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. V. supra 4b for notes.
  2. Jast.: a large round vessel, receptacle of grain, water, etc.
  3. A circle with a diameter of six is the least (roughly) in which a square of four can be inscribed. Now, as stated above (6a), an object four square is a separate domain itself, and no liability is incurred for throwing one domain into another.
  4. Since it is ten handbreadths high, it is impossible that the top and bottom canes of the circumference shall be absolutely even and straight, and so something must project above ten from ground level, which is a place of non-liability, not public ground. But in order to incur liability the whole of the article thrown must rest in public ground.
  5. Where it was less than six handbreadths broad (Rashi).
  6. It is a principle that the walls of an object are regarded as extending beyond its opening down to the ground itself as soon as that opening comes within a shade less than three handbreadths from the ground. V. Glos. s.v. labud. Hence, when this overturned bin, which is a shade more than seven in height (and certainly if less), enters within just under three handbreadths from the ground and is regarded as already resting on the ground, the whole is within ten from the ground, and therefore he is liable. But if it is slightly taller than this it is partly above ten; hence there is no liability.
  7. I.e., to enable it to be used as a receptacle, and not to create an imaginary extension downwards.
  8. it being of the exact height to facilitate this.
  9. And it is therefore part of the street.
  10. It is too low for the latter purpose.
  11. And since it is thus put to public use, it is part of the thoroughfare.
  12. Nine deep.
  13. It can only be used with difficulty; therefore it is not part of the street.
  14. As such it is private ground; v. supra fol. 6a.
  15. sc. o n nine handbreadths.

Shabbath 8b

If one intends to take up his Sabbath abode in a public ground, and places his 'erub1  in a pit above ten handbreadths, it is a valid 'erub; if below ten handbreadths, it is not a valid 'erub.2  How is this meant? Shall we say, [he placed it] in a pit ten [handbreadths] in depth, and 'above' means that he raised [the bottom] and set it [the 'erub] there;3  and 'below' means that he lowered it4  and set it there: what is the difference between above and below? He is in one place and his erub in another!5  Hence it must surely refer to a pit not ten deep,6  and it is taught, it is a valid 'erub, which proves that use with difficulty is regarded as use?7  Sometimes he answered him: Both he and his 'erub were in a karmelith,8  and why is it called public ground? Because it is not private ground.9  And sometimes he answered him: He was on public ground while his 'erub was in a karmelith, this agreeing with Rabbi, who maintained: Whatever is [interdicted] as a shebuth10  was not forbidden at twilight.11  And do not think that I am merely putting you off, but I say it to you with exactitude.12  For we learnt: If there is a water pool and a public road traverses it, if one throws [an object] four cubits therein, he is liable. And what depth constitutes a pool? Less than ten handbreadths. And if there is a pool of water traversed by a public road, and one throws [an object] four cubits therein,13  he is liable. Now, as for mentioning this pool twice, it is well; one refers to summer and the other to winter, and both are necessary. For if we were informed [this about] summer, [it might be said the reason] is because it is the practice. of people to cool themselves;14  but in winter I would say [that it is] not [so]. And if we were informed this of winter, [it might be id the reason] is because becoming mud-stained15  it may happen that he goes down [into the water]; but in summer [I would say that it is] not [so]; thus both are necessary. But why mention traversing, twice? Hence. it must surely follow that a passage under difficulties16  is regarded as a [public] passage, whereas use under difficulties is not regarded as [public] use.17  This proves it. Rab Judah said: In the case of a bundle of canes: if one repeatedly throws it down and raises it,18  he is not liable unless he lifts it up.19

The Master said: 'A man standing on a threshold may take [an object] from or give [it] to the master of the house, and may take an object] from or give [it] to the poor man.' What is this threshold? Shall we say, a threshold of a public road?20  [How state that] he 'may take [an object] from the master of the house'? Surely he [thereby] carries [it] from private to public ground! Again, if it is a threshold of a private domain-[how state that] 'he may take [an object] from the poor man'? Surely he [thereby] carries [it] from public to private ground? Or again if it is a threshold of a karmelith,21  — [how state that] 'he may take or give' [implying] even at the very outset? But after all, the prohibition does exist.22  Rather it must mean a threshold which is merely a place of non-liability, e.g., if it is not four [handbreadths] square. And [it is] even as what R. Dimi, when he came,23  said in the name of R. Johanan: A place which is less than four square, the denizens both of public and private ground may rearrange their burdens upon it, provided that they do not exchange.24

The Master said: 'Providing that he does not take from the. master of the house and give to the poor man or the reverse, and if he does take and give [from one to the other], the three are exempt.' Shall we say that this refutes Raba? For Raba said: if one carries an object full four cubits25  in the street, even if he carries it

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. V. Glos.
  2. Lit., 'his 'erub is an 'erub … his 'erub is not an 'erub.' On the Sabbath one may not go more than two thousand cubits out of the town. This, however, may be extended by placing some food (called an 'erub) at any spot within the two thousand cubits on Friday; by a legal fiction that spot becomes the Sabbath abode, since he can now eat his meal there, and from there he is permitted to walk a further two thousand cubits in any direction. This food must so be placed that it is permissible to take it on the Sabbath.
  3. E.g., he placed a small board on the bottom and the food upon it.
  4. E.g., by removing some of the earth at the bottom.
  5. The whole of that pit being ten deep, it is private ground (supra 6a), and no object in it, even if raised to the very edge, may be taken out into the thoroughfare. Hence the 'erub is inaccessible, and therefore invalid.-'He is in one place' — sc. in public ground, 'and his 'erub in another,'-in private ground.
  6. 'Above' and 'below' referring to the bottom of the pit.
  7. For otherwise it would not be regarded as public ground.
  8. E.g., the pit was in a plain; supra fol. 6a.
  9. Cf. supra 6b.
  10. V. Glos. This includes carrying between public ground and a karmelith.
  11. On Friday, because it is doubtful whether twilight belongs to the day (Friday) or night (the Sabbath), while a shebuth itself is not a stringent prohibition. Hence be could have taken out his food at twilight, which is just the time when the 'erub acquires that spot for him as his resting place for the Sabbath,
  12. Viz., that service with difficulty is not regarded as public use.
  13. I.e., it travels four cubits before it alights.
  14. Hence it is open for public use.
  15. Through travelling.
  16. As when the public road traverses a pool.
  17. This is deduced from the emphasis on 'traversing'.
  18. Thus moving it: yet he does not actually lift it entirely from the ground at any moment.
  19. Lit., 'removes it' completely from the ground.
  20. Rashi: e.g., one leading to an alley.
  21. Being four handbreadths square but less than ten high, so that it does not rank as private ground.
  22. Of carrying between a karmelith and public or private ground, though its infringement is not punishable.
  23. V. p. 12, n. 9.
  24. Using it as a means of transport between public and private ground.
  25. Lit., 'from the beginning of four to the end of four.'