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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Shabbath

Folio 99a

also, the clasps in the loops1  looked like stars [set] in the sky.

Our Rabbis taught: The lower curtains [were made] of blue [wool], purple [wool]. crimson thread and fine linen,2  whilst the upper ones were of goats' [hair] manufacture; and greater wisdom [skill] is mentioned in connection with the upper than in connection with the lower. For whereas of the lower ones it is written, And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands;3  in reference to the upper ones it is written, And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats;4  and it was taught in R. Nehemiah's name: It was washed [direct] on the goats and spun on the goats.5

IF THERE ARE TWO BALCONIES, etc. Rab said in R. Hiyya's name: As for the waggons, beneath them, between them, and at their sides it was public ground. Abaye said: Between one waggon and another [as its side] there was [the space of] a full waggon. length. And how much was a waggon-length? five cubits. Why was it [this length] necessary: four and a half would have sufficed?6  — So that the boards should not press [against each other].7

Raba said: The sides of the waggon8  equalled the fit [internal] breadth of the waggon, and how much was the [internal] breadth of the waggon? Two cubits and a half.9  Why was this necessary: a cubit and a half would have sufficed?10  — In order that the boards should not jump about.11  Then as to what we have as an established fact that the path [width] of public ground must be sixteen cubits: since we learn it from the Tabernacle,12  surely [the public ground] of the Tabernacle was [only] fifteen?13 — There was an additional cubit where a Levite stood, so that if the boards slipped he would support them.


GEMARA. Why state, THE BANK OF A CISTERN, AND A ROCK: let him [the Tanna] state, 'A cistern and a rock'?17  [Hence] this supports R. Johanan, who said: A cistern together with the bank thereof combine to [give a height of] ten [handbreadths].18  It was taught likewise: As for a cistern In public ground ten [handbreadths] deep and four broad [square]. We may not draw [water] from it on the Sabbath,19

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. V. ibid. 10f,
  2. V. ibid. 1.
  3. Ibid. XXXV. 25.
  4. Ibid. 26.
  5. V. p. 355, n. 4.
  6. Either for three rows of boards lying on their breadth, which gives exactly four and a half cubits, or for four rows lying on their thickness, thus allowing an additional half cubit to cover the extra space needed for the bars.
  7. Rashi: if laid on their breadth. Tosaf: if laid on their thickness, the half cubit being insufficient both for the bars and for freedom of movement of the boards.
  8. Which includes the thickness of the sides, the wheels which reached up alongside of them, and the space between the wheels and the sides.
  9. So that the sides, as defined in n. 3, were one and a quarter each.
  10. To permit the boards to be placed on their thickness inside the waggon down its length if necessary.
  11. When placed on top, more than one and a quarter cubits should be necessary to support their length firmly.
  12. All definitions in connection with work on the Sabbath are learnt thence.
  13. Two waggons side by side, each five cubits in width and five cubits' space between them, the whole constituting a public pathway.
  14. Formed by the earth dug of it.
  15. I.e., four square on top.
  16. Because the bank or stone is private ground (v. supra 6a), whilst the remover stands in public ground.
  17. This would teach that anything either ten high or ten deep and four square is a private domain.
  18. So that the cistern is counted as private ground.
  19. Because the well is private ground whilst the drawer stands in the street.

Shabbath 99b

unless a wall ten handbreadths high is made around it;1  and one may not drink from it on the Sabbath unless he brings his head and the greater part of his body into it,2  and a cistern and its bank combine to [give a height of] ten.

R. Mordecai asked Rabbah: What of a pillar in the street, ten high and four broad, and one throws [an article] and it alights upon it? Do We say, Surely the removal is [effected] in transgression and the depositing is [effected] in transgression;3  or perhaps since it comes from a place of non-liability4  it is not [a culpable action]? — Said he to him, This is [treated in] our Mishnah. He [then] went and asked it of R. Joseph: Said he to him, This is [treated in] our Mishnah. He went and asked it of Abaye, Said he to him, This is [treated in] our Mishnah. 'You all spit with each other's spittle,'5  cried he to them: Do you not hold thus, they replied. Surely we learnt, IF ONE REMOVES [AUGHT] FROM THEM OR PLACES [AUGHT] UPON THEM, HE IS CULPABLE.6  But perhaps our Mishnah treats of a needle? he suggested to them! — It is impossible even for a needle not to be slightly raised. — It [the rock] may have a projecting point,7  or it [the needle] may lie in a cleft.8

R. Misha said, R. Johanan propounded: What of a wall in a street, ten high but not four broad, surrounding a karmelith9  and converting it [thereby] into private ground,10  and one throws [an article] and it alights on the top of it? Do we say, Since it is not four broad it is a place of non-liability; or perhaps, since it converts it into private ground it is as though it were [all] filled up?11  Said 'Ulla, [This may be solved] a fortiori: if it [the wall] serves as a partition for something else,12  how much more so for itself!13  This was stated too: R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in Rab's name, and thus said R. Isaac in R. Johanan's name: In the case of a wall in the street ten high and not four broad, surrounding a karmelith and converting it into private ground, he who throws [an article] which alights thereon is culpable: if it serves as a partition for something- else, how much more so for itself.

R. Johanan propounded: What of a pit nine [handbreadths deep] and one removes one segment from it and makes it up to ten;14  [do we say] the taking up of the object and the making of the partition come simultaneously, hence he is culpable; or is he not culpable? Now should you say, since the partition was not ten originally he is not liable: what of a pit ten [deep] and one lays the segment therein and [thus] diminishes it['s depth]? [Here] the depositing of the article and the removal of the partition come simultaneously: is he culpable or not? — You may solve it for him by his own [dictum]. For we learnt: if one throws [an article] four cubits on to a wall, — if above ten handbreadths, it is as though he throws it into the air; if below, it is as though lie throws it on to the ground; and he who throws [an article] four cubits along the ground is culpable. Now we discussed this: surely it does not stay there? And R. Johanan answered: This refers to a juicy cake of figs.15  Yet why so? Surely it diminishes the four cubits?16  — There he does not render it as nought;17  here he does render it as nought.18

Raba propounded: What if one throws a board and it alights upon poles?19  What does he ask? [The law where] the depositing of the article and the constituting of the partition come simultaneously? [but] that is R. Johanan's [problem]!-When does Raba ask? e.g.. if he throws a board with an article on top of it: what [then]? [Do we say], Since they come simultaneously, it is like the depositing of the article and the making of a partition [at the same time];20  or perhaps, since it is impossible for it [the article] not to be slightly raised and then alight,21  it is like the making of a partition and the [subsequent] depositing of an article?22  The question stands over.

Raba said: I am certain, water [lying] upon water, that is its [natural] rest; a nut upon water,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. For the drawer to stand in private ground.
  2. Cf. supra 11a bottom.
  3. I.e., the article is removed from public and deposited in private ground.
  4. V. supra 6a. The object must sail through the air above ten handbreadths in order for it to alight on the top of column of that height.
  5. Your opinions are all traceable to the same source.
  6. And in so doing he must lift the object to a height above ten.
  7. Part of the top may slope downward and thence project upward, and there the needle lies. In that case it is below ten, and even when picked up does not go above ten.
  8. Or groove, likewise below ten. — Thus in R. Mordecai's view the Mishnah does not solve his problem.
  9. V. Glos.
  10. V. infra 7a,
  11. Reaching to the top of the wall, so that the wall and the karmelith are one, the whole, including the wall, being private ground.
  12. Converting the karmelith into private ground.
  13. It is certainly private ground, just as the karmelith which it converts.
  14. [The segment was one handbreadth in thickness and by removing it the pit reaches the depth of ten handbreaths, which constitutes the legal height for the partition of a private domain.]
  15. V. supra 7b.
  16. For the thickness of the figs must be deducted. Nevertheless he is culpable, and the same reasoning applies to R. Johanan's second problem.
  17. When he throws the cake of figs on the wall, he does not mean it to become part thereof and cease to exist separately, as it were.
  18. For it becomes part of the wall. Hence the two cases are dissimilar.
  19. The poles are ten handbreadths high, but not four square, whilst the board is; thus as it rests on these poles it constitutes a private domain.
  20. Hence he is not liable. assuming this to be the solution of R. Johanan's problem.
  21. For it does not stick to the board; hence the board alights first and then this article.
  22. Therefore he is culpable.