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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Three, Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Four, Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Five

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Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Three

1

It is taken for granted that an animal is prone to eat fruit, vegetables or the like. Therefore, if [an animal] enters a domain belonging to another person and eats produce that it would normally eat, [the owner of the animal] is liable for the entire amount of the damages, as stated [in Exodus 22:4]: "And if he shall send forth his animals, and they shall pasture in another's field, payment should be exacted from his choice field." If [the animal] ate produce belonging to another person in the public domain, [the owner] is not liable.1 If [the animal] benefits [from eating the produce], the owner must pay for the benefit [his animal received], but not for the damages caused.

א

הבהמה מועדת לאכול פירות או ירקות וכיוצא בהן. לפיכך אם נכנסה לרשות הניזק ואכלה דברים שדרכה לאכלם משלם נזק שלם שנאמר ובער בשדה אחר מיטב שדהו וגו'. ואם אכלתם ברשות הרבים פטור ואם נהנית משלם מה שנהנית לא מה שהזיקה:

2

What is implied? If [an animal] entered another person's domain and ate sesame seeds, chestnuts or the like that were worth a dinar, [the owner] must pay a dinar. If [the animal ate these foods] in the public domain and derived benefit, we consider [these foods] as if they were barley or fodder, and [the owner is required to] pay the wholesale2 price of fodder3 or barley.4

ב

כיצד נכנסה לרשות הניזק ואכלה שומשמין או לוט וכיוצא בהם בשוה דינר משלם דינר. ואם אכלתן ברשות הרבים ונהנית רואין אותן כאילו הם שעורים או עמיר ומשלם דמי עמיר או דמי שעורים בזול:

3

If the animal ate foods that are harmful to it - e.g., it ate wheat - since it did not derive any benefit, [the owner] is not liable. If it ate substances that it would not usually eat - e.g., it ate a garment or a utensil - [the owner] should pay half the damages.5 [This applies] both in a private domain and in a public domain. [The rationale is that] this is a deviation. [Hence, the owner is liable for only half the damages. He is liable for damage caused in the public domain, however] because it is the ordinary practice of people to leave their utensils or garments in the public domain while they rest.

ג

אכלה אוכלים הרעים לה כגון שאכלה חיטין הואיל ולא נהנית פטור. אכלה אוכלין שאין דרכה לאכלן כגון שאכלה כסות ג או כלים בין ברשות הניזק בין ברשות הרבים משלם חצי נזק שזה שינוי הוא ודרך בני אדם להניח כליהם וכסותן ברשות הרבים עד שינוחו מעט:

4

There is a doubt [regarding the liability of the owner when his] animal is standing in a private domain, but takes produce [belonging to the owner of the private domain] from the public domain and eats it in that private domain.6 Therefore, [the owner] is liable only for the benefit [his animal] derived.7 If, however, the person whose property was damaged seizes possession of the full worth of the damage [caused by the animal], it should not be expropriated from him,8 for [the produce] was eaten in his domain.

ד

בהמה שהיתה עומדת ברשות הניזק ותלשה פירות מרשות הרבים ואכלתן ברשות הניזק הרי הדבר ספק לפיכך אינה משלמת אלא מה שנהנית ואם תפש הניזק כמה שהזיקה אין מוציאין מידו שהרי ברשותו אכלה:

5

When a dog entered a courtyard, took bread or meat, brought it into the public domain or to another courtyard9 and ate it there, [the owner] should pay for the benefit [the dog] received.10 If [the dog] ate [the food] in a field belonging to the owner of the courtyard, the [dog's owner] must pay the full extent of the damages as if it had been eaten in the courtyard, because it was eaten in a domain belonging to the person whose property was damaged.11 The same [laws] apply in all analogous situations.

ה

כלב שנכנס לחצר ונטל פת או בשר והוציאן לרשות הרבים או לחצר אחר ואכלם שם מה שנהנה משלם. אכלם בשדה של בעל החצר משלם נזק שלם כאילו אכלן בתוך החצר שהרי ברשות הניזק אכל. וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

6

[The following rules apply when] an animal eats foods that it would not ordinarily eat, but would eat under constraint: e.g., a cow that ate barley, a donkey that ate vetch12 or fish, a pig that ate a piece of meat, a dog that licked oil, a cat that ate dates and the like. If the foods were eaten in a domain belonging to the person whose property was damaged, [the owner] must pay the entire amount of the damage.13 [If the foods were eaten] in the public domain, he is not liable. If [the animal] benefited, the owner must pay for that benefit.

ו

בהמה שאכלה אוכלין שאין דרכה לאכלן אבל אוכלתן על ידי הדחק. כגון פרה שאכלה שעורים וחמור שאכל כרשינים או דגים ְוחזיר שאכל חתיכה בשר וכלב שלקק את השמן וחתול שאכל תמרים וכן כל כיוצא באלו. אם אכלה ברשות הניזק משלם נזק שלם וברשות הרבים פטור. ואם נהנית משלם מה שנהנית:

7

When a beast enters a private domain and seizes an animal or meat14 and eats it, [its owner] must pay the full extent of the damages, for this is its ordinary course of behavior. When, however, a dog eats small sheep,15 or a cat eats large cocks,16 this is considered to be a deviation,17 and [the owner] is liable for [only] half the damages.

ז

חיה שנכנסה לרשות הניזק וטרפה ואכלה בהמה או בשר משלם נזק שלם שזהו דרכה. אבל ו כלב שאכל כבשים קטנים או חתול שאכל תרנגולים גדולים הרי זה שינוי ומשלם חצי נזק:

8

When there is a basket of bread [in a private domain], and a donkey enters and breaks the basket and eats the bread, [the owner] is liable for the full extent of the damages, for this is [a donkey's] ordinary behavior. Similarly, if a goat sees a turnip or the like on the opening of a jug, stumbles over the jug and eats the turnip and breaks the jug, [the owner] must pay the full damages for both, for it is the ordinary pattern [for such an animal] to hang on to utensils and climb on them in order to eat. The same applies in all analogous situations. If, however, a donkey came in and ate bread and then broke a basket, [the owner] is liable for full damages for the bread, but only half damages for the basket.18 The same applies in all analogous situations.

ח

סל שיש בו לחם ונכנס חמור ושבר הסל ואכל הלחם משלם על הסל ועל הלחם נזק שלם שזה הוא דרכו. וכן שעיר עזים שראה לפת וכיוצא בו על פי החבית ונסתבך בחבית ואכל את הלפת ושבר את החבית משלם על שניהם נזק שלם. כשם שדרכו לאכול כך דרכו להתלות בכלים ולעלות כדי לאכול וכן כל כיוצא בזה. אבל אם נכנס החמור ואכל את הלחם ואחר כך שבר את הסל על הלחם משלם נזק שלם ועל הסל חצי נזק וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

9

When an animal eats [produce] in the marketplace, whether when walking or when standing, [its owner] must pay [only] for the benefit it received.19 This applies even if the animal turns [its head] to the corners of the marketplace and eats.20 If, however, the animal left the marketplace and went and stood at the corner of the marketplace and ate [produce], [its owner] must pay for the damages.21 If the animal ate from [produce in] the storefront, [the owner] must pay [only] for the benefit it received. If it ate from [produce] within the store, he must pay the full extent of the damages.

ט

בהמה שאכלה מתוך הרחבה בין דרך הליכתה בין שעמדה ואכלה משלם מה שנהנית, ואפילו חזרה על צדי הרחבה ואכלה מהן. אבל אם הניחה את הרחבה והלכה ועמדה בצדי הרחבה ואכלה משלם מה שהזיקה. א אכלה מפתח החנות משלם מה שנהנית מתוך החנות משלם מה שהזיקה:

10

If an animal was walking in the public domain and stretched out its neck and ate from [produce] that was [loaded onto] another animal's back, [its owner] must pay [only] for the benefit it received, for it is common for animals to eat from [a load] being carried by another.22 [This law applies] even when [the animal] stands. If it jumped23 to eat from the [produce] that was [loaded onto] another animal's back, [its owner] must pay the full extent of the damages,24 because the back of another animal is considered to be the private domain of the person who suffered the damage.

י

היתה מהלכת ברשות הרבים ופשטה צוארה ואכלה מעל גבי חברתה ואפילו עמדה משלם מה שנהנית שכן דרך הבהמות לאכול זו מעל גבי זו. ואם קפצה ואכלה על גבי חברתה משלם מה שהזיקה שגבי חברתה כחצר הניזק הוא חשוב:

11

If an animal slips on a stone or on its urine and falls into a garden of fruit or vegetables or if it eats from the garden, [the owner] is required to pay [only] for the benefit it receives. Even if it walks from one row to another row, and even if it stays there the entire day, he is required to pay [only] for the benefit it receives.25 What benefit could it receive from falling? That it fell on a soft place and did not crush its limbs. If, by contrast, an animal descended [into private property] in an ordinary manner and ate produce, [the owner] must pay the full extent of the damages. Even if it soiled produce with its afterbirth, [the owner] must pay the full extent of the damages, because the first stage involved negligence.26 Similarly, if it was pushed by another animal and fell, [the owner] must pay the full extent of the damages, because he should have had them pass one by one so that they would not push each other.27

יא

בהמה שהוחלקה באבן או במימי רגליה ונפלה לגינה ונחבטה על גבי פירות וירקות או שאכלה משלם מה שנהנית. אפילו הלכה מערוגה לערוגה ואפילו נשארה שם כל היום כולו אינו משלם אלא מה שנהנית. ומה הנאה יש לה בחביטה שהרי מצאה מקום רך ולא נתרסקו איבריה. אבל אם ירדה כדרכה ואכלה משלם מה שהזיקה. ואפילו טנפה פירות במי לידה משלם מה שהזיקה מפני שתחילתו בפשיעה. וכן אם דחפתה חברתה ונפלה משלם מה שהזיקה מפני שהיה לו להעבירן אחת אחת כדי שלא ידחפו זו את זו:

12

If it slipped and fell [into another person's garden], departed28 and then returned to that garden, [the owner] must pay the full extent of the damages, even if it returned without his knowledge. He was obligated to watch it, [and prevent it] from returning.29 For it is known that if an animal knows the way to a garden, it will return on its own initiative.

יב

הוחלקה ונפלה ויצאת וחזרה לגינה אע"פ שחזרה שלא לדעת הבעלים משלם מה שהזיקה מפני שהיה לו לשמרה שלא תחזור שהדבר ידוע שכיון שידעה דרך הגינה הרי היא חוזרת מאליה:

13

When a potter brings his wares into a person's courtyard without his permission, and an animal belonging to the owner [of the courtyard] broke the pottery, [the owner] is not liable.30 [Moreover,] if the animal is injured, the potter is liable.31 If he brought his wares in with [the owner's] permission, [the potter is not liable [for the animal's injury].32 If the owner made a commitment to guard the pottery, he is liable [for the damages].

יג

הקדר שהכניס קדרותיו לחצר בעל הבית שלא ברשות ושברתן בהמתו של בעל הבית פטור, ואם הוזקה בהן בעל הקדרות חייב. ואם הכניס ברשות פטור. ואם קבל עליו בעל הבית לשמור את הקדרות בעל הבית חייב:

14

Similarly, if [a person] brought produce into a courtyard belonging to another individual without his permission and the animal belonging to the owner [of the courtyard] ate it, [the owner of the courtyard] is not liable.33 If the animal slipped on it and suffered injuries, the owner of the produce is liable.34 If he brought the produce in with [the owner's] permission, [the owner of the produce] is not liable [for the animal's injury].35 If the owner [of the courtyard] made a commitment to guard the produce, he is liable [for the damages to the produce].36 If the person brought produce [into a courtyard] without permission, and an animal belonging to the owner of the courtyard ate it and suffered injury because it ate it, the owner of the produce is not liable. The animal should not have eaten it.37 When the owner of a courtyard allowed a person to bring his produce into [the courtyard] and left [the owner of the produce] to watch it, if an animal belonging to the owner of the courtyard ate from the produce and suffered damages, the owner of the produce is liable. Since he saw the animal eating produce that could damage it and took no action, he is liable. For the owner of the courtyard is not present to banish his animal from them. An incident occurred when a woman entered to bake in the house of her neighbors.38 They left her alone, so that they would not see her while she was kneading and baking.39 A goat belonging to the owner came and ate from [her raw] dough and died. The Sages obligated her to reimburse [the owners] for the goat. These principles apply in all similar situations.

יד

וכן אם הכניס פירותיו לחצר בעל הבית שלא ברשות ואכלתם בהמתו של בעל הבית פטור. ואם הוחלקה בהן והוזקה בעל הפירות חייב. ואם הכניס ברשות פטור. ואם קבל עליו בעל הבית לשמור את הפירות בעל הבית חייב. הכניסן שלא ברשות ואכלתן בהמתו של בעל הבית והוזקה באכילתן בעל הפירות פטור מפני שהיה לה שלא תאכל. ואם הכניסה ברשות והניחו בעלי החצר את זה שהרשהו בחצר לשמרו ואכלתן בהמתו של בעל הבית והוזקה באכילתן בעל הפירות חייב. שכיון שראה הבהמה אוכלת דברים המזיקין לה והניחה חייב שהרי אין בעלי החצר מצויין שם להעביר הבהמה מהן. ומעשה באשה שנכנסה לאפות בתנור בבית שכנותיה והניחוה ונתעלמו כדי שלא יביטו בה בעת לישתה ואפייתה ובא עז של בעל הבית ואכל הבצק ומת וחייבוה חכמים לשלם דמיו. וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

15

When a person made a grain heap in a field belonging to a colleague without the latter's permission, and an animal belonging to the owner of the field ate it, [the owner of the field] is not liable. If the animal slipped on it and suffered injuries, the owner of the produce is liable. If the animal ate it and suffered injury because it ate it, [the owner of the produce] is not liable.40 If he had permission to make the grain heap, the owner of the field is liable, even if he did not accept the responsibility to guard [the grain pile]. Once a watchman in the granaries says: "Make your grain heap here," it is as if he told him: "Make your grain heap and I will guard it for you."41

טו

המגדיש בתוך שדה חבירו שלא ברשות ואכלתן בהמתו של בעל השדה פטור. ואם הוחלקה והוזקה בעל הפירות חייב. אכלתן והוזקה באכילתן פטור. ואם הגדיש ברשות בעל השדה חייב אע"פ שלא קבל עליו לשמור. שהשומר בגרנות כיון שאמר לו הגדש בכאן כמי שאמר לו הגדש ואני אשמור לך הוא חשוב:

Footnotes
1.

The proof-text stated above explicitly states that the owner is liable when his animals pasture in another's field. This is understood as excluding the public domain.In Chapter 1, Halachah 8, the Rambam explains the rationale for this exclusion: It is the habit of an animal to go and eat as it proceeds - i.e., if a person leaves produce in the public domain, he should take it for granted that it will be eaten by the animals passing through.

2.

Our translation is loose. The Hebrew b'zol literally means as they are cheap. Rashi (Bava Kama 20a) states that he should pay 2/3 of the market price of the fodder. The reason for this reduction is that the owner is being forced to pay against his will.Based on his interpretation of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Bava Kama 2:2), the Shiltei Gibborim interpret b'zol as meaning when they are cheap - i.e., if they cost less than the substance eaten by the animal.

3.

Here also we have used a loose translation, because as mentioned in the Maggid Mishneh, the Kessef Mishneh and the Lechem Mishneh, there are several different interpretations of the Hebrew term emir.

4.

I.e., although the chestnuts or the sesame seeds are more valuable than the simple fodder, the owner is required to pay only the market price for the fodder, for that is what he would have fed his animal.

5.

The commentaries explain that this damage is considered a derivative of goring.

6.

There are two dimensions to the damage: the place from which the produce was taken, and the place where it was destroyed. One is not liable for produce taken from the public domain, but one is liable for produce eaten in a private domain. Hence the doubt mentioned by the Rambam. See Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 391:12.

7.

Because of the doubt, money cannot be exacted from its owner.

8.

Since the money is now in possession of the person whose property was damaged, it can also not be exacted from him. See the notes to Chapter 1, Halachah 11.

9.

Belonging to another person.

10.

I.e., he does not pay the full price of the food. The rationale is, as in the previous halachah, that the food was eaten in the public domain.

11.

The fact that it was taken away from the place from which it was originally taken is not significant, provided that it is eaten in a domain belonging to that owner.

12.

A type of bean usually eaten by cows.

13.

Despite the fact that this is not the animal's ordinary food, since it ate it, the owner is liable for the damages. If, however, an animal eats food that it would never eat - e.g., a cow ate meat - the owner must pay only half the damages Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 391:3).

14.

The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 391:6) interpret this as referring to raw meat alone.

15.

I.e., even small sheep; certainly this applies with regard to large sheep.

16.

Eating small cocks, however, is not considered a deviation. See Ketubot 41b.

17.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) clarifies that this refers only to living animals. Once an animal has died, however, it is natural for a dog or cat to eat from its corpse regardless of its size.

18.

This is considered a derivative of goring. Hence the payment must be exacted from the body of the animal that caused the damage Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 391:4).

19.

For the marketplace is considered to be part of the public domain.

20.

For this is also the ordinary practice of an animal in the public domain.

21.

The area on the side of the marketplace is considered to be a private domain, and considered like the private property of the person whose property was damaged (Tosafot, Bava Kama 21a).

22.

Therefore, it is considered to be an ordinary instance of an animal's eating produce in the public domain.

23.

And placed its forelegs on the other animal. By doing so, it is considered to have left the public domain and entered the domain of the person whose produce was damaged.

24.

The Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 391:11) differ and maintain that this ruling applies only when it is impossible for the animal to eat the produce without jumping on the other animal.

25.

Since the animal entered the private domain by accident, its owner is not held responsible for the damage it caused.

26.

Even if the owner did not know that the animal was about to give birth, and thus the damage can be considered to have come about by forces beyond his control. Since the animal's entry into the private domain came as a result of negligence, the owner is held liable. See Chapter 2, Halachah 15.

27.

I.e., this is also considered negligence on the owner's part. The Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 394:1) consider this to be accidental, and free the owner of responsibility.

28.

The Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 394:2) state that this law applies when the owner is aware that the animal entered the garden and departed.

29.

The Maggid Mishneh, the Tur and the Ramah (ibid.) state that if the owner locked the animal in a stall in an ordinary manner, and the animal managed to escape and return to the garden, the owner is not liable, because he did everything necessary to prevent this from happening.

30.

His animal has free rein within his own courtyard; it can be assumed that it will walk freely and trod on anything placed there. The potter brought his wares there at his own risk.

31.

The pottery is considered to be a pit dug in someone's private property, because the potter should have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that the owner's animal would not be damaged.

32.

For the owner knew of the pottery and should have taken care that his animal not be damaged.

33.

For it can be assumed that his animal will eat any produce left in his courtyard.

34.

For he created an obstacle in another person's domain.

35.

Since the owner gave the person permission to place his produce there, he must take responsibility for his animal.

36.

Note the Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 393:1, 398:5), who maintain that if the owner of the courtyard gave the person permission to bring his wares in, he becomes liable for them. He does not have to make an explicit statement accepting responsibility.

37.

I.e., the owner of the courtyard should take responsibility for making sure that his animal does not overeat (Sefer Me'irat Einayim 393:4).

38.

Sefer Me'irat Einayim 393:5 explains that this incident teaches that even when the owner of the produce does not know that the owner of the courtyard has left, under certain circumstances, he should take responsibility for the animal belonging to the owner of the courtyard.

39.

It is common for a woman to roll up her sleeves and bare her arms when she is kneading dough. Out of concern for modesty, the owners of the house left the room (Bava Kama 48a).

40.

These laws are basically a restatement of those of the previous halachah. The new insight stated by the Rambam comes in the following paragraph.

41.

Note the Lechem Mishneh and the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Bava Kama 6:3), which indicate that the watchman is liable and not the owner of the field.See, however, Sefer Me'irat Einayim 393:7, which states that this is speaking about an instance in which the owner himself guards his fields.

Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Four

1

When a person gathers sheep in a corral and locks them in with a gate that can withstand an ordinary wind, and [yet the sheep were able to] leave and cause damage, the owner is not liable.1 If [the gate] cannot withstand an ordinary wind or if the walls of the corral are shaky, [the owner] is not considered to have enclosed [the sheep] in a proper manner. [Thus, if they are able to] leave and cause damage, he is liable.2 Even if [the sheep] dug beneath [the gate3 to] get out, [the gate] was broken at night,4 or thieves broke it down, the owner of the sheep is liable [for the damage his sheep cause].5 If, however, the gate was strong and it was broken at night or thieves broke in, and then [the sheep] departed and caused damage, [the owner] is not liable.6 If the thieves took the sheep out and then they caused damage, the thieves are liable.

א

הכונס צאן לדיר ונעל בפניהן בדלת שיכולה לעמוד ברוח מצויה ויצאה והזיקה פטור. ואם אינה יכולה לעמוד ברוח מצויה או שהיו כותלי הדיר רעועין הרי לא נעל בפניהם כראוי ואם יצאת והזיקה חייב. ואפילו חתרה ויצאת ואפילו נפרצה מחיצה בלילה או פרצוה ליסטים בעל הצאן חייב. היתה מחיצה בריאה ונפרצה בלילה או שפרצוה ליסטים ויצאת והזיקה פטור הוציאוה ליסטים והזיקה ליסטים חייבים:

2

[The following rules apply when] a person breaks down a fence in front of an animal belonging to a colleague. If the fence was strong and sturdy, he is liable.7 If the wall was shaky, he cannot be held liable according to mortal law,8 but he has a moral obligation. Similarly, if a person places poison in front of an animal belonging to a colleague, he cannot be held liable according to mortal law,9 but he has a moral obligation.10

ב

הפורץ גדר לפני בהמת חבירו ויצאת והזיקה. אם היה גדר חזק ובריא חייב. ואם היה כותל רעוע פטור בדיני אדם וחייב בדיני שמים. וכן הנותן סם המות לפני בהמת חבירו פטור מדיני אדם וחייב בדיני שמים:

3

When a person brings an animal belonging to a colleague to crops belonging to a third individual, the person who brought the animal there is liable.11 Similarly, if a colleague hit an animal with a switch until it walked to crops belonging to a third individual, the person who switched it is liable.

ג

המעמיד בהמת חבירו על גבי קמת חבירו המעמיד חייב לשלם מה שהזיק. וכן אם הכישה עד שהלכה לקמת חבירו והזיקה זה שהכישה חייב:

4

When a person entrusts his animal to an unpaid watchman, a paid watchman, a renter or a borrower, these individuals assume the owner's responsibilities. If [the animal] causes damages, the watchman is held liable. When does the above apply? When he did not guard the animal at all. If, however, he guarded the animal in an excellent manner, as he should,12 and it got loose and caused damage, the watchman is not liable, and the owners are liable, even if the animal kills a human being.13Should the watchman guard the animal in an inferior manner,14 he is not held liable if he is an unpaid watchman.15 If he is a paid watchman, a renter or a borrower, he is held liable.16

ד

המוסר בהמתו לשומר חנם או לנושא שכר או לשוכר או לשואל נכנסו תחת הבעלים ואם הזיקה חייב השומר. במה דברים אמורים בזמן שלא שמרוה כלל אבל אם שמרוה שמירה מעולה כראוי ויצאת והזיקה השומרים פטורין והבעלים חייבים אפילו המיתה את האדם. שמרוה שמירה פחותה אם שומר חנם הוא פטור ואם שומר שכר או שוכר או שואל הוא חייבין:

5

If [a person] leaves an animal in the sun and it gets loose and causes damage, even if it must dig [under the fence to do so], the one who left it in the sun is liable. [The rationale is that because of] the discomfort [the animal] feels, it will do anything it possibly can to flee.17

ה

הניחה בחמה אפילו חתרה ויצאת והזיקה חייב זה שהניחה שם. שכיון שהניחה בחמה הרי היא מצטערת ובורחת ועושה כל שאפשר לה לעשות:

6

When [a person] gives his animal to a deaf mute, a mentally incompetent individual or a minor18 to watch, the owner is liable. [This applies] even if the ox is tied, for an ox - and similarly other [animals] - will break open the knot and go out and cause damage.19 Even if the animal was guarded in an excellent manner, and it dug [under the fence] and escaped and caused damage, the owners are liable.20

ו

מסר בהמתו לחרש שוטה וקטן אע"פ שהיה השור קשור הבעלים חייבין. שדרך השור וכיוצא בו להתיר הקשר ולצאת ולהזיק. אפילו שמרוה שמירה מעולה וחתרה ויצאה והזיקה הבעלים חייבים:

7

[The following rules apply when] a person entrusts his ox to five men, one of them was negligent, and the ox escaped and caused damage. If all five are required to guard the ox, the person who was negligent is liable.21 If the ox can still be watched by the others, they share in the liability.22

ז

מסר שורו לחמשה ופשע בו אחד מהן ויצא והזיק אם אינו משתמר אלא בחמשתן זה שפשע בשמירתו חייב. ואם משתמר בשארן אף אלו הנשארין חייב:

8

[The following rules apply if a person] borrowed an ox under the presumption that it was an ordinary ox, and it was discovered that it had already been classified as one that gores. If the borrower knew that it had a tendency to gore,23 the owners are required to pay half the damages, for wherever the ox goes, it remains the owner's property.24 The borrower is also required to pay half the damages, because even if it had been an ordinary ox, as he had thought, he would have been required to pay half the damages, for he knew that the ox had a tendency to gore.25 If, however, the borrower did not know of this tendency, he is not liable at all,26 and the owners must pay the entire amount of the damages.

ח

שאלו בחזקת תם ונמצא מועד. אם ידע השואל שהוא נגחן הבעלים משלמים חצי נזק שכל מקום שהוא הולך הרי שם בעליו עליו. והשואל משלם חצי נזק. שאפילו היה תם (כשעלה בדעתו) חצי נזק היה משלם שהרי ידע שהוא נגחן. ואם לא ידע שהוא נגחן אין השואל חייב כלום והבעלים משלמין נזק שלם:

9

When a borrower borrows an ox that is classified as an ordinary ox, and it becomes classified as a goring ox when in the possession of the borrower, it is removed from that category when it is returned to its owner. Since the domain [under which the animal is] changes, its classification also changes. [If the ox gores,] the owners must pay half the damages, and the borrower is not held liable at all, for he returned it to its owners.

ט

שאלו כשהוא תם והועד בבית השואל והחזירו לבעליו חוזר לתמותו. הואיל ונשתנית רשותו בטלה ההעדה והבעלים משלמין חצי נזק והשואל פטור שהרי החזירו:

10

When a watchman accepts responsibility only for watching the body of an animal [entrusted to him], but [does not accept responsibility] for the damage it causes, if [the animal] causes damage the watchman is not held liable, and its owners are.27 If [the watchman] accepted responsibility [only] for the damages [the animal] causes, he is liable if it causes damage. If it is injured, the watchman is not liable, and the owners should sue the person who caused the injury.

י

שומר שקבל עליו שמירת גוף הבהמה בלבד אבל לא שמירת נזקיה והזיקה פטור מלשלם והבעלים חייבים. קבל שמירת נזקיה והזיקה חייב השומר. ואם הוזקה פטור והבעלים עושים דין עם המזיק:

11

When a watchman entrusts [an animal] to another watchman, [and it causes damage], the first watchman is liable to pay the person whose property was damaged. For whenever one watchman delegates [an entrusted object] to another watchman, he is liable.28 For the person whose property was damaged will tell him: "Why didn't you watch it yourself instead of delegating it to someone else? Pay me yourself, and sue the watchman to whom you delegated it." If, however, the watchman entrusted [the animal] to his son, a member of his household or one of his helpers, they assume the responsibility that was the watchman's, and they are liable.29

יא

מסר השומר לשומר אחר השומר הראשון חייב לשלם לניזק שהשומר שמסר לשומר חייב. והרי הניזק אומר לו למה לא שמרת אתה בעצמך ומסרת לאחר שלם לי אתה ולך ועשה דין עם השומר שמסרת לו אתה. מסרה השומר לבנו או לבן ביתו או למסעדו נכנסו תחת השומר וחייבים:

12

[The following rule applies when] a watchman is liable to pay [for the damages an animal caused], but he is insolvent. If the animal that caused the damage is considered to be an ordinary animal, in which case half the damages must be paid from the body of the animal itself, the person whose property was damaged should take his due from the animal, and the sum that he collects should be considered to be a debt owed by the watchman to the owner of the animal.30

יב

כל שומר שנתחייב לשלם ואין לו והיה המזיק תם שהוא משלם חצי נזק מגופו הרי הניזק משתלם מן הבהמה שהזיקה וישאר דמי מה שגבה הניזק חוב על השומר לבעל הבהמה:

13

Whenever an animal causes damage to crops that are growing, the damage is assessed by comparison with a field sixty times the size of the crops that were damaged. The one who is liable - either the owner or the watchman - is obligated to pay that sum.31 What is implied? If [an animal] ate the amount of produce that would grow when a se'ah [of seeds] were sown in that field, we calculate the worth of an area in which sixty se'ah [of seeds] could be sown in that field, [evaluating] how much it would be worth [before the animal ate from it] and how much it is worth now. [The owner or the watchman] is liable for the remainder. Similarly, if the animal ate an amount of produce that would grow when a kav or a quarter of a kav were sown - [or even if it ate] one stalk of grain - the damages are assessed by comparison with a field sixty times the size of the crops that were damaged.

יג

כל בהמה שהזיקה פירות מחוברין משערין מה שהזיקה בששים ומשלם זה שנתחייב לשלם בין הבעלים בין השומרים. כיצד הרי שאכלה בית סאה שמין ששים בית סאה באותה השדה כמה היה שוה וכמה הוא שוה עתה אחר שנפסד בו הבית סאה ומשלם השאר. וכן אם אכלה קב או רובע אפילו קלח אחד שמין אותו בששים:

14

When, [by contrast,] an animal ate fruit that ripened and no longer needed [the nurture of] the land, [the owner of the animal is required to] pay the full value of ripe produce. If [the animal ate] a se'ah, he must pay for a se'ah. If [it ate] two se'ah, he must pay for two se'ah. [The following laws apply if an animal] ate the fruit of one date palm, or a person gathered the fruit of a colleague's date palm and ate it. If it was a Roman date palm, whose fruit is not of very high quality, it should be measured in comparison with a orchard of date palms sixty times the size of its land. If it was a Persian date palm or the like, whose fruit is of very high quality, the date palm should be evaluated individually. An assessment should be made of its worth before the fruit was eaten and its worth after the fruit was eaten.

יד

אכלה פירות גמורין שאין צריכים לקרקע משלם דמי פירות גמורין בשוויהן אם סאה דמי סאה ואם סאתים דמי סאתים. הרי שאכלה ב פירות דקל אחד וכן הלוקט פירות דקל חבירו ואכל אם היה דקל רומי וכיוצא בו שאין התמרים שלו יפות משערין אותו בששים על גב הקרקע. ואם דקל פרסי וכיוצא בו הוא שהתמרים שלו יפות ביותר משערין הדקל בפני עצמו כמה היה שוה וכמה הוא שוה עתה:

Footnotes
1.

For he has done all that could be expected of him to watch his sheep.

2.

For he is considered to be negligent.

3.

If, however, they dug under another part of the corral, the owner is not liable, for their exit has nothing to do with his negligence (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 396:1).

4.

If the walls were broken during the day, and the owner did not fix them, he is considered to be negligent.

5.

Although the damage is considered to have been caused by forces beyond the owner's control, since this damage was preceded by acts of negligence on the part of the owner, he is liable. See Chapter 2, Halachah 15.

6.

The damage is considered to have been caused by forces beyond the owner's control. Even if the owner is informed that the gate to his corral was broken at night, he is not obligated to fix it until the following day (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.:2).

7.

The Ra'avad and the Tur maintain that the person who broke the fence is not liable unless he leads the animal out. The Rambam's ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 396:3), while the Ramah cites the other views.See the Maggid Mishneh, who questions the difference between this law and the previous one, which states that thieves are not liable unless they actually take the animal out of the corral.

8.

Since the owner is considered negligent in leaving the fence shaky, he is held liable for the damage the animal caused. Needless to say, the person who broke the wall down is liable for the damage to the wall, even though it was shaky.

9.

He is considered to have been merely an indirect cause (grama).

10.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 19.

11.

He is considered to be a direct cause of the damage.

12.

I.e., enclosing it behind a gate capable of withstanding winds of unusual force.

13.

The wording of this halachah has raised questions for there is an obvious difficulty: If the watchmen guarded the animal in an excellent manner, why is the owner liable? The Maggid Mishneh explains that the liability refers only to damage caused by the animal by goring. (See Chapter 7, Halachah 1.) The Kessef Mishneh refers to a responsum purported to have been sent by the Rambam to the Sages of Lunil, which states that there was a printing error and the text should read: If, however, they guarded the animal in an excellent manner, as they should, and it got loose and caused damage, the watchman is not liable. If the watchman guarded the animal in an inferior manner, he is not held liable if he is an unpaid watchman. Instead, the owners are liable, even if the animal kills a human being. The watchman is held liable if he is a paid watchman, a renter or a borrower.In his Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 396:8), Rav Yosef Karo quotes the interpretation of the Maggid Mishneh. The Sefer Me'irat Einayim 396:18 questions this, referring to Karo's Kessef Mishneh.

14.

Enclosing it behind a gate capable of withstanding ordinary winds.

15.

For an unpaid watchman is not expected to take as thorough care of an animal as a paid watchman. See, however, note 13.

16.

Such watchmen are expected to watch the animal in a thorough manner.

17.

The Tur and the Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 396:5) state that even if the person tied the animal with a strong rope, he is liable if it breaks loose in these circumstances.

18.

All of these three types of people are considered mentally incompetent. They are not responsible for their actions, and the owner is considered negligent for charging them with watching his animal.

19.

The owner is considered negligent because these individuals will frequently play with the rope, and by doing so loosen the knot, enabling the animal to break free.

20.

Although escaping in this manner is considered to be a factor beyond the owner's control, since he was originally negligent in entrusting the animal to a mentally incompetent person, he must bear the consequences.The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling. It is, however, accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 396:6).

21.

For the damage is due to his negligence.

22.

For had they not been negligent as well, the ox would not have escaped. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 396:7) appears to favor the Rambam's ruling, it also quotes the opinion of the Tur, which states that the person who is negligent shares the liability only when the others tell him that because of his negligence, they are withdrawing their responsibility. Otherwise, it is they who are liable, and not he.

23.

But did not know that it had been placed in the category of a goring ox.

24.

I.e., when an animal is sold, its status is changed with the change in ownership. (See Chapter 6, Halachah 6.) This, however, does not apply when it is merely borrowed (Kessef Mishneh).

25.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, explaining that it applies only when the court takes possession of the ox.

26.

For it is more difficult to guard an ox that has a tendency to gore, and the borrower did not accept this responsibility.

27.

The Rambam's statements imply that if the watchman makes no specific statement with regard to whether or not he is responsible for the damages the animal causes, he is liable for the damage it causes (Maggid Mishneh). The Ra'avad understands the Rambam as making such an implication, and he objects, maintaining that the watchman should not be held liable. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 396:8) follows the Maggid Mishneh's conception. They maintain that the principle followed by the Rambam should be accepted with the exception of a goring ox.

28.

The first watchman is considered negligent in entrusting it to a second watchman (even if an unpaid watchman entrusts it to a paid watchman). Therefore, the first watchman is liable, even in an instance when the object was destroyed by forces beyond the second watchman's control.

29.

The rationale is that a watchman will frequently delegate an entrusted article to these individuals. The owner should have taken this into account when he entrusted the article to the watchman at the outset.

30.

If the animal was already classified as prone to cause damages, this law would not apply, because the obligation would rest solely on the watchman's person. When, however, the animal is not placed in that category, since its own body is on lien for the damages, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 7, it is expropriated in lieu of payment.

31.

Since the produce was growing, it would be unfair for the person whose animal caused the damages to be required to pay for it as if it were harvested fruit that was damaged. Instead, one considers the damaged crops as a part in a larger whole, thus reducing the amount of the damages. A compromise is accepted that takes in consideration the positions of both the owner of the land and the owner of the animal.The produce is not evaluated individually, for this would inflate the amount of damages paid. Nor is its share evaluated in comparison with the entire field, for then the amount of damages would be unfairly low. Instead, it is evaluated when compared with an area sixty times its size as explained.A se'ah is six kabbin. A kab is 1.376 kilograms according to Shiurei Torah. Thus a se'ah is 8.256 kilograms. The area where a se'ah of seeds would be sown is 50 cubits by 50 cubits.

Hilchot Nizkei Mamon - Chapter Five

1

[The following laws apply when] an animal was pasturing and entered fields and vineyards [belonging to others]. Even though it did not cause any damage,1 a warning should be given to its owner on three occasions.2 [Afterwards,] if he does not watch his animal and prevent it from pasturing [in other people's fields], the owner of the field has the right to slaughter the animal in a ritually acceptable manner,3 and tell its owners: "Come and sell your meat." [The rationale is that] it is forbidden for a person to cause damages and then to pay for the damages he caused. Even being an [indirect] cause of damage is forbidden.

א

בהמה שהיתה רועה ג ופרשה ונכנסה בשדות ובכרמים אע"פ שעדיין לא הזיקה מתרין בבעליה שלש פעמים. אם לא שמר בהמתו ולא מנעה מלרעות יש רשות לבעל השדה לשחטה [ג] שחיטה כשרה ואומר לבעליה בואו ומכרו בשר שלכם. מפני שאסור לאדם להזיק ולשלם מה שהזיק אפילו לגרום הנזק אסור:

2

For this reason, our Sages forbade [our people] from raising small animals4 and small beasts5 in Eretz Yisrael, where there are fields and vineyards.6 One may, however, raise these animals in the forests and deserts of Eretz Yisrael.7In Syria,8 it is permitted to raise these animals everywhere.

ב

לפיכך אסרו חכמים לגדל א בהמה דקה וחיה דקה בארץ ישראל במקום השדות והכרמים אלא ביערים ובמדברות שבארץ ישראל. ומגדלין בסוריא בכל מקום:

3

Joshua and his court established ten conditions at the time they divided the land [into ancestral plots]: a) One may pasture a small animal in forests that are thick with trees;9 one may not, however, pasture a large animal there.10 In a forest that is not thick with trees, one may not pasture either a large animal or a small animal without the permission of the owners. b) Any person is permitted to collect wood from a field belonging to a colleague. This refers to wood that is not valuable - comparable to thorns, brambles and prickly shrubs. Moreover, this refers to fresh twigs that are still connected to their source of nurture,11 and applies only when the person will not uproot them entirely.12 It is forbidden to take other types of wood. c) Any person may collect grass that is growing on its own accord anywhere,13 except for a field of fenugrec that was sown to be used as animal fodder.14 d) A person may cut off a branch from any tree in any place,15 except from the branches left in an old olive tree.16 One may not, however, cut off closer than the length of an egg from the place where the branches begin to spread from an olive tree. And one may cut only from the place where a shoot is joined to the trunk of a reed or a vine. With regard to other trees, one may cut from the center of the tree and not from its higher branches. [Although] permission was granted to cut off a branch, this applies only to [cutting] from a new branch17 that does not yet produce fruit, but not from an old branch that produces fruit. One may cut off [a branch] only from a portion of the tree that is not exposed to the sun.18 e) When a new spring of water emerges, the inhabitants of the city in whose territory it emerges may make use of it,19 even though its source is elsewhere. No others may take water from it together with them. f) Any person may catch fish in Lake Kinneret, provided he fishes with a small net. Only the tribe20 to which the lake was awarded as part of their ancestral portion may spread out large nets that will prevent the passage of other boats.21 g) Any person who needs to relieve himself may turn off the path, go behind any fence he sees and defecate there. [This applies] even with regard to a field of saffron.22 One may pick up a stone from there and clean oneself with it. h) Any person who loses his way in a vineyard or the like may break through the vines and ascend, or break through the vines and descend until he is able to find his way. i) When the public thoroughfare is filled with mud, or the ravines are filled with water, passersby may take side paths, even though they are private property. j) A corpse that has no one to bury it23 acquires its place and should be buried there by the person who finds it. This applies provided the corpse is not lying lengthwise across the path,24 or within the Sabbath boundaries of a city. In those instances, the corpse should be transported to a cemetery.25

ג

עשרה תנאים ב התנה יהושע ובית דינו בשעה שחלק את הארץ, ואלו הן. א) התנה שמרעין בהמה דקה ביערים שאילניהן גסין. אבל אין מרעין שם בהמה גסה. וביער שאילניו דקים אין מרעין בו לא גסה ולא דקה אלא מדעת בעליו. ב) וכן התנה שיהיה כל אדם מותר ללקט עצים משדה חבירו. והוא שיהיו עצים פחותים וקרובים להיות קוצים כגון היזמי והיני. והוא שיהיו לחים ומחוברין ובלבד שלא ישרש. אבל שאר עצים אסור. ג) וכן התנה שיהיה כל אדם מותר ללקט עשבים העולין מאיליהן בכל מקום חוץ משדה תלתן שזרעה לבהמה. ד) וכן התנה שיהיה אדם קוטם נטיעה בכל מקום חוץ מגרופיות של זית ואינו קוטם מן האילנות אלא בזית כביצה ובקנים ובגפנים מן הפקק ולמעלה ובשאר האילן מתוכו* של אילן לא מחודו. וכשהתיר לקטום לא התיר אלא מחדש שאינו עושה פירות אבל לא מישן שעושה פירות. ואינו קוטם אלא ממקום שאינו רואה פני חמה. ה) וכן התנה שהמעיין היוצא בתחילה בני אותה העיר שיצא בגבולם מסתפקין ממנו אע"פ שאין עיקרו בחלקם ואין לאחרים להסתפק עמהם ממנו. ו) וכן התנה שיהיה כל אדם מותר לצוד דגים מים טבריה והוא שיצוד בחכה בלבד. אבל לא יפרוש קלע ויעמיד ספינה שם אלא בני השבט שהגיע אותו הים בחלקם. ז) וכן התנה שכל אדם שצריך לנקביו מסתלק מן הדרך ונכנס אחורי הגדר שפגע בו ונפנה שם ואפילו בשדה מליאה כרכום ונוטל משם צרור ומקנח. ח) וכן התנה שכל התועה בין הכרמים וכיוצא בהן מפסג ועולה מפסג ויורד עד שיצא לדרכו. ט) וכן התנה שבזמן שירבה הטיט בדרכי הרבים או נקיעי מים יש לעוברי דרכים להסתלק לצדדי הדרכים ומהלכין שם אע"פ שהן מהלכין בדרך שיש לה בעלים. י) וכן התנה שמת מצוה קונה מקומו ונקבר במקום שימצא בו. שלא יהא מוטל על המצר ולא בתוך תחום המדינה. אבל אם נמצא על המצר או שהיה בתוך התחום מביאו לבית הקברות:

4

King Solomon ordained that passersby are permitted to walk on private paths in the fields during the summer months until the second phase of fall rains descend.26

ד

שלמה תקן שיהיו עוברי דרכים מותרין בימות החמה להלך בשבילין שבשדות שיש להן בעלים עד שתרד רביעה שנייה:

5

These rules apply in all places, even in the diaspora.27

ה

ותקנות אלו כולן נוהגות בכל מקום אפילו בחוצה לארץ:

6

From the time dew descends in Babylonia, it is forbidden to walk through private pathways belonging to others.28

ו

ומשירד הטל בבבל אסור להלך בשבילין שיש להן בעלים:

7

Although it is forbidden to raise a small animal in Eretz Yisrael, one may maintain possession of one for 30 days prior to a pilgrimage festival,29 or prior to the wedding of one's son.30 A butcher may buy an animal for slaughter and may leave it for a certain time until he slaughters it, as long as it does not pasture with the flock. Instead, whoever maintains possession of a small animal must keep it within his house, so that it does not cause damage.

ז

אע"פ שאין מגדלין בהמה דקה בארץ ישראל מותר לשהותה קודם לרגל שלשים יום וקודם למשתה בנו שלשים יום. והטבח לוקח ושוחט לוקח ומשהה עד שישחוט מעט מעט. ובלבד שלא תצא ותרעה בעדר אלא כל המשהה משהה בתוך ביתו כדי שלא תזיק:

8

[Our Sages] established an equation between Babylonia and Israel, prohibiting the raising of small animals and beasts there as well. For [in Talmudic times,] the majority of the fields and vineyards there belonged to Jews.31

ח

וכבר עשו בבל כארץ ישראל לאסור בה גידול בהמה דקה וחיה דקה מפני שהיו רוב השדות והכרמים שם באותם הימים של ישראל:

9

Similarly, our Sages forbade raising pigs in all places.32 Also, [our Sages forbade raising] dogs unless they are tied by a chain. One may, however, raise dogs in a city near the border.33 During the day [the dogs] should be chained, and at night let loose. Our Sages said:34 "Cursed be one who raises dogs and pigs, because they frequently cause a great degree of damage."

ט

וכן אסרו חכמים לגדל חזירים בכל מקום. ולא את הכלב אלא אם כן היה קשור בשלשלת. אבל מגדל הוא כלבים בעיר הסמוכה לספר. ביום קושרו ובלילה מתירו. ואמרו חכמים ארור מגדל כלבים וחזירים מפני שהיזקן מרובה ומצוי:

10

When a shepherd repents, he should not be obligated to sell [his entire herd] immediately. Instead, he should sell a bit at a time.35 Similarly, if a person has inherited dogs and pigs, he is not required to sell all of them immediately, but instead may sell them bit by bit.

י

רועה שעשה תשובה אין מחייבין אותו למכור מיד אלא מוכר על יד על יד. וכן מי שנפלו לו כלבים וחזירים בירושה אין מחייבין אותו למכור מיד אלא מוכר מעט מעט:

Footnotes
1.

The Ra'avad and Rabbenu Asher take issue with the Rambam on this point, explaining that the owner of the field generally does not have the right to slaughter an animal belonging to another person. Bava Kama 23b does speak of the owner of a field slaughtering goats belonging to someone else, but this was a special instance. He knew that the goats were being taken to the market to be slaughtered.The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam had a different interpretation of that passage. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 397:1-2) follows the Ra'avad's interpretation.

2.

The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (op. cit.) interpret this to be implying that if the owner of the animal says, Why come to me with a complaint? Let the owner of the field build a strong fence around his field to prevent animals from entering, his claim is not accepted. He is required to take responsibility for his animal.

3.

This minimizes to the greatest degree possible the loss that the owner of the animal would suffer.

4.

E.g., sheep and goats.

5.

E.g., deer.

6.

For they will harm the produce. The Maggid Mishneh explains that this law (and those that follow) were instituted as part of the provisions of yishuv Eretz Yisrael, the settlement of our Holy Land. (See also Hilchot Edut 10:4, which states that a shepherd of sheep or goats is not acceptable as a witness, because it is likely that he will pasture his flocks in fields belonging to others. See also Hilchot Bechorot 3:6.)It is, however, permissible to raise large animals like cows in Eretz Yisrael.

7.

Where the damage is not significant.

8.

See Hilchot Terumot 1:4,9, which defines the status of Syria as less than that of Eretz Yisrael, but greater than that of the diaspora as a whole.

9.

I.e., the owner of the forest has no right to protest.

10.

For it could damage the forest.

11.

If they are dry and severed from the ground, they are fit to serve as firewood for the owners of the field.

12.

Significantly, the Tur (Choshen Mishpat 274) does not mention this dimension.

13.

This is beneficial for the owner of the field, because the grass detracts from the field's growth potential.

14.

For grass and fenugrec make excellent fodder. For that reason, if the fenugrec is being grown for human consumption, one may pick the grass. Bava Kama 81a states that if the fenugrec is growing in rows, one may assume that it has been planted for human consumption.

15.

This is allowed to enhance the settlement of Eretz Yisrael, for it will enable more trees to be grown there.

16.

When an olive tree has become old, and it no longer produces a significant amount of fruit, all of its branches are cut off except two, so that its growth potential will become concentrated. Cutting off one of these remaining branches would damage the future of the tree.

17.

One that is less than a year old.

18.

For it is the branches that are exposed to the sun that provide a tree with its nurture.

19.

Without payment.

20.

I.e., the tribe of Naftali.

21.

The Tur (loc. cit.) and others differ with the Rambam and maintain that even the owner of a lake may not fish with nets large enough to prevent the passage of a boat.Others interpret large nets as referring to nets that will catch large quantities of fish. Fishing privileges of that nature are not granted to another tribe.

22.

A type of spice that will be damaged by the unpleasant odor of feces.

23.

We have used a loose translation. The Hebrew term meit mitzvah, literally a corpse that we are commanded to bury, refers to a Jewish corpse lying on the road, that has no one to bury it (Hilchot Eivel 3:8).

24.

Our translation is taken from Rashi's commentary on Bava Kama 81b. In these instances, the presence of a grave will be likely to impart impurity to a large number of people.

25.

The commentaries question why the Rambam requires a corpse found in the road to be taken to the cemetery. In Hilchot Tum'at Meit 8:7, he states that in such an instance, a corpse may be buried in a nearby field. This indeed is the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 364:3).

26.

I.e., from the seventeenth of Cheshvan on. Until then, passersby will not do any damage to the fields. Once the rains descend, however, the seeds begin to take root, and treading on them would damage them.

27.

The Tur (Choshen Mishpat 274) quotes this ruling. The Shulchan Aruch, however, does not mention these laws. The Ramah (Choshen Mishpat 274:1) quotes the Tur's view and questions why the Shulchan Aruch ignored these laws. He explains that it is possible that the Shulchan Aruch also maintains that these laws are applicable in the diaspora, but failed to mention them because it was uncommon for Jews to own land at that time.The concept that these laws apply in the diaspora is somewhat difficult according to the Maggid Mishneh (and Rashi), who explain that the motivating rationale for these laws is the concern for yishuv Eretz Yisrael, the settlement of our Holy Land. Others explain that these provisions are intended to avoid strife and friction.

28.

For this will cause damage to the land there.

29.

In the time of the Temple, these animals were offered as sacrifices. Even after the Temple's destruction, it is still a mitzvah to celebrate on the festivals by eating meat (Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 6:18).

30.

For these feasts are also considered to be se'udot mitzvah (feasts associated with the performance of a mitzvah).

31.

From this, we can assume that these laws would apply in any community where most of the lands are owned by Jews.

32.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Bava Kama 7:7), the Rambam states that this law applies to all animals that are forbidden to be eaten. (See also The Guide for the Perplexed, Volume III, Chapter 48, which speaks of the unfavorable tendencies brought about by eating pork.)From the conclusion of this halachah, however, it appears that the Rambam is focusing on a different rationale: the material and not the spiritual damage that pigs can cause.

33.

For they will serve as watchdogs and raise a clamor in the event of attack.

34.

Bava Kama 82b, 83a.

35.

If he were required to sell his entire herd immediately, it is possible that he would have to reduce the price of the animals. Our Sages feared that the possibility of this loss would intimidate the shepherd and prevent him from repenting.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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