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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 19a

they cannot find, and the leaves grow again.

NOR A FULLER'S POOL. R. Nahman said in the name of Rabba b. Abbuha: The three handbreadths mentioned here apply only to the soaking pool,1  but the washing pool must be kept four cubits from the wall.2  We find this also taught [in a Baraitha]: The fuller's pool must be kept four cubits away. But did we not learn, THREE HANDBREADTHS? — This shows [that the Mishnah must be understood] as R. Nahman has explained. Some put this statement in the form of a contradiction [which is afterwards reconciled,] thus: We learnt A FULLER'S POOL MUST BE KEPT THREE HANDBREADTHS AWAY. But does not a Baraitha say four cubits? — Said R. Nahman in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: There is no contradiction. The Mishnah speaks of the soaking pool and the Baraitha of the washing pool. R. Hiyya the son of R. Awia added a gloss to this effect to the Mishnah itself: 'Unless he removes the edge of the soaking pool three handbreadths from the wall.'

AND PLASTER THE SIDES. The question was raised: Is the proper reading of the Mishnah 'and plaster' or 'or plaster'? — Obviously 'and plaster' is the proper reading, for if the Mishnah meant to say 'or', then the first two clauses could have been run into one.3  But possibly ['or' is after all the right reading, and the reason why the two clauses are not combined is because] they are not in the same category. the damage in one case arising from moisture4  and in the other from steam?5  — Come and hear: R. Judah says. If there is crumbling rock between the two properties, each owner can dig a pit on his own side and each must keep away from the boundary three handbreadths and plaster his pit.6  The reason is [is it not,] that the soil between is crumbling, but otherwise there is no need to plaster?7  — No. This is the rule even if the soil is not crumbling; he still has to plaster.8  The case of crumbling soil, however, is specified, because otherwise I might have thought that with crumbling soil a greater distance still was required. Now he teaches us [that this is not so].

OLIVE REFUSE, DUNG, SALT, LIME AND FLINT STONES SHOULD BE KEPT, etc. We have learnt in another place:9  In what materials may food be kept warm [for the Sabbath] and in what may it not be kept warm? It may not be kept warm in olive refuse or in dung or in salt or in lime or in sand,10  whether moist or dry. Why is it that here flint stones are included in the list and not sand, and there sand is included and not flint stones? — R. Joseph answered: Because it is not usual to keep food warm in flint stones. Said Abaye to him: And is it usual to keep food warm in woollen fleeces and strips of purple wool? And yet [these are mentioned in] a Baraitha which says: 'Food may be kept warm in woollen fleeces and strips of purple wool and fluff, but these things must not be carried on Sabbath.' No, said Abaye. The truth is that, his neighbour telleth concerning him.11  The Mishnah here mentions flint stones, and the same rule applies to sand, and there it mentions sand and the same rule applies to flint stones. Said Raba to him: If his neighbour telleth concerning him, should not the Mishnah mention the whole list in one place and only one item in the other, allowing us to understand that the same rule applies to the rest? No, said Raba. The reason why flint stones are not mentioned in connection with Sabbath is because they are liable to crack the pot,12  and the reason why sand is not mentioned here is because while it makes hot things hotter, it makes cold things colder.13  But R. Oshiah included sand in his Baraitha14  [in the list of things that have to be kept away from the boundary]? — He was speaking of things which produce moisture. Then why should our Tanna also not include it on the ground of its producing moisture? — He has mentioned specifically A DITCH.15  Yet in spite of mentioning a ditch he also mentions A FULLER'S POOL?16  — Both of these required to be specified. For if he had mentioned only a ditch. I should have said that this was because it was a fixture, but I should not have included a fuller's pool which is not a fixture.17  And if he had mentioned a fuller's pool. I should have said that this was because its waters are stagnant. but I should not have included a ditch [which has running water]. Hence both were necessary.

SEEDS AND PLOUGH FURROWS ARE KEPT AWAY etc. Cannot seeds be inferred from plough furrows? — Seeds can be dropped without ploughing. Cannot plough furrows be inferred from seeds?18  Ploughing can be done for trees.19  Cannot both be inferred from water?20  — The Tanna is speaking of Eretz Yisrael, of which it is written, it drinketh water of the rain of heaven.21  Our Mishnah would imply that seeds

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. A pool in which the dirty linen was soaked two or three days before washing.
  2. Because of the splashing.
  3. Viz., the clause about the pit. etc., and the clause about the olive refuse, etc., where we have 'or cement', the damage there being too slight to require both plastering and removal to a distance, v. Tosaf. 17a. [H]
  4. From the water in the pit. etc.
  5. From the olive refuse, etc.
  6. Supra 17b.
  7. And we therefore read in the Mishnah, 'or plaster'.
  8. And we therefore read, 'and plaster'.
  9. Shab. 47b.
  10. All things which give of a steam.
  11. Job XXXVI 33; [H] E. V. 'noise' is rendered here 'friend', companion'; i.e. one passage elucidates the other.
  12. Or 'make rusty'. They are therefore not used at all, whereas purple wool is used sometimes.
  13. And therefore does not injure a wall.
  14. The Tosefta of R. Oshiah.
  15. And this can include all things that give off moisture.
  16. And therefore he should specify (moist) sand as well.
  17. Since the fuller may abandon it after a time.
  18. Because ploughing is only for the sake of sowing.
  19. Ploughing the ground under trees was supposed to improve them.
  20. Trees and seeds require watering; hence their prohibition could have been inferred from that of moisture.
  21. Deut. XI, 21. And therefore seeds are sown and trees planted in fields where there is no irrigation; hence their prohibition had to be mentioned separately.
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Baba Bathra 19b

spread their roots; how is it then that we have learnt. 'If a man bends over the bough of a vine and plants it in the earth, if there are not three handbreadths of earth over it he must not sow seed on it'1  and to this a gloss was added in a Baraitha 'but he may sow all round it'?2  R. Hagga answered in the name of R. Jose: The reason here [in the case of the wall] is because the seeds break up the soil and bring up loose earth [and not because they spread].

AND URINE MUST BE REMOVED THREE HANDBREADTHS etc. Rabbah b. Bar Hana said: It is permissible for a man to make water on the side of another man's wall, as it is written, And I will cut off from Ahab one that pisseth against the wall and him that is shut up and him that is left at large in Israel.3  But did we not learn, URINE MUST BE KEPT THREE HANDBREADTHS FROM THE WALL? — This refers to slop water. Come and hear: A man should not make water on the side of another man's wall, but should keep three handbreadths away. This is the rule for a wall of brick, but if the wall is of stone. he need keep away only so far as not to do any damage. How much is this? A handbreadth. If the wall is of hard stone, it is permitted.4  Does not this confute the dictum of Rabbah b. Bar Hana? — It does. But Rabba b. Bar Hana based himself on the Scripture? — The meaning of the verse is this: 'Even a creature whose way is to piss against a wall I will not leave him. And what is this? A dog.'

5R. Tobi b. Kisna said in the name of Samuel: A thin wafer does not narrow a window space.6  Why a thin one? The same can be said even of a thick one? — The Rabbi gave an extreme instance. It goes without saying in the case of a thick cake that since it is fit for food the owner does not mentally ignore its existence, [and therefore it does not narrow the window space]; but with a thin one, since it soon becomes uneatable,7  I might think that he does ignore its existence. Therefore R. Tobi tells us [that even a thin cake does not narrow the window space]. Cannot this be derived from the fact that a wafer is a thing which is capable of becoming [ritually] unclean, and the rule is that anything which is capable of becoming ritually unclean cannot form a partition to prevent the passage of uncleanness?8  — We assume the wafer in this case to have been kneaded with fruit juice.9

An objection [to the rule as stated above] was raised: If a basket full of straw or a jar full of dry figs is placed in a window space, then we decide as follows. If when the basket and the jar are taken away the straw and the figs can stand by themselves, then they form a partition, but if not, they do not.10  Now straw is fit for the food of animals?11  — We speak here of straw which has become mouldy. But it is fit for making clay? — We speak of straw which has thorns in it. But it is fit for fuel? — We speak of damp straw. Even so it can be used on a big fire? — A big fire is something uncommon. But figs are fit to eat?12  — Samuel replied: We speak of figs which have bred worms. (So Rabbah b. Abbuha also explained: We speak of figs which have bred worms.) How are we to picture this jar? If its mouth faces outwards,13

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Kil. VII, 1.
  2. Which shows that the roots do not spread, otherwise they would form kilayim (v. Deut. XXII, 9).
  3. I Kings XXI, 21.
  4. Tosef. B.B. 1.
  5. This section seems to be an interpolation, having no connection with the subject in hand.
  6. If a dead body is in a room between which and an adjoining room there is an opening of a handbreadth square or more, the uncleanness spreads to the adjoining room unless the opening is reduced to the dimension of less than a handbreadth square by means of something which is not useful for any other purpose.
  7. Because it soon becomes mouldy through contact with the wall.
  8. Hence there would appear to be no point in stating the rule.
  9. And such a wafer is not subject to uncleanness like one kneaded with water, wine, or oil.
  10. Oh. VI. 2.
  11. And yet it is allowed to form a partition.
  12. And yet they are allowed to form a partition.
  13. I.e., towards the second room, with no dead body in it.
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