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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Shabbat - Chapter Twenty Eight

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Shabbat - Chapter Twenty Eight

1

Whenever there is a home that is outside a city, but seventy and two thirds cubits - i.e., the length of one of the sides of [a square] 5000 square cubits in area1 - or less from the city, it is considered to be part of the city and joined to it. When two thousand cubits are measured in all directions from the city, this house [is considered to be on the extremity of the border2 and] the measurement [begins] from there.3

א

כָּל בֵּית דִּירָה שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא מִן הַמְּדִינָה אִם הָיָה בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין הַמְּדִינָה שִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וּשְׁנֵי שְׁלִישֵׁי אַמָּה שֶׁהוּא צֶלַע בֵּית סָאתַיִם הַמְרֻבַּעַת אוֹ פָּחוֹת מִזֶּה הֲרֵי זֶה מִצְטָרֵף לִמְדִינָה וְנֶחְשָׁב מִמֶּנָּה. וּכְשֶׁמּוֹדְדִין לָהּ אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ מוֹדְדִין חוּץ מִבֵּית דִּירָה זֶה:

2

If one house is within seventy cubits of a city, another house is within seventy cubits of the first, and a third within seventy cubits of the second [and so on], they are all considered to be one city, although the chain extends for a distance of several days walk. When [the Sabbath limits] are measured, they are measured from the last house, provided this house is a dwelling4 four cubits by four cubits5 or more [in area].

ב

הָיָה בַּיִת זֶה קָרוֹב לַמְּדִינָה בְּשִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וּבַיִת שֵׁנִי קָרוֹב לְבַיִת רִאשׁוֹן בְּשִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וּבַיִת שְׁלִישִׁי קָרוֹב לַשֵּׁנִי בְּשִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וְכֵן עַד מַהֲלַךְ כַּמָּה יָמִים הֲרֵי הַכּל כִּמְדִינָה אַחַת וּכְשֶׁמּוֹדְדִין מוֹדְדִין מִחוּץ לַבַּיִת הָאַחֲרוֹן. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֵּית דִּירָה זֶה אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת אוֹ יֶתֶר:

3

[The following are considered to be dwellings in the context mentioned above:] a synagogue that has a dwelling for its attendants, a temple of a false deity that has a dwelling for its priests, a storeroom that has a dwelling, a bridge or a grave that has a dwelling,6 a structure four cubits by four cubits that has three walls but no roof, watchtowers,7, a house built [on an island]8 at sea,9 a structure with two walls and a roof,10 a cave with a building at its entrance that is used as a dwelling. All of these are included as part of the city, provided they are located within seventy and a fraction cubits of it.

From this house on the extremity [of the city], we consider it as if a line is extended along the length of the entire city, and we measure two thousand cubits outward from that line.

ג

וְכֵן בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ בֵּית דִּירָה לְחַזָּנִין וּבֵית עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ בֵּית דִּירָה לְכֹהֲנֵיהֶם וְהָאוֹצָרוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן בֵּית דִּירָה וְהַגֶּשֶׁר וְהַקֶּבֶר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן בֵּית דִּירָה וְשָׁלֹשׁ מְחִצּוֹת שֶׁאֵין עָלֶיהָ תִּקְרָה וְיֵשׁ בָּהֶן אַרְבַּע עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת וְהַבֻּרְגָּנִין וְהַבַּיִת הַבָּנוּי בַּיָּם וּשְׁתֵּי מְחִצּוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ עֲלֵיהֶן תִּקְרָה וּמְעָרָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בִּנְיָן עַל פִּיהָ וְיֵשׁ בָּהּ בֵּית דִּירָה. כָּל אֵלּוּ מִצְטָרְפִין עִמָּהּ אִם הָיוּ בְּתוֹךְ שִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וְשִׁירַיִם. וּמֵאוֹתוֹ הַבַּיִת הַיּוֹצֵא רוֹאִין כְּאִלּוּ חוּט מָתוּחַ עַל פְּנֵי כָּל הַמְּדִינָה וּמוֹדְדִין חוּץ לְאוֹתוֹ הַחוּט אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה:

4

The following [structures] are not added [as the furthest extremities of a city's boundaries]: a structure with two walls and no roof - despite the fact that people dwell within it - a bridge, a grave, a synagogue, a temple to false deities, and a storehouse that do not have dwellings; a cistern, a trench, a cave,11 a dovecote, and a house on a ship.12 All of these are not added [to a city's boundaries].

ד

וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין מִצְטָרְפִין עִמָּהּ. שְׁתֵּי מְחִצּוֹת שֶׁאֵין עֲלֵיהֶן תִּקְרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדָּרִין בֵּינֵיהֶן. וְהַגֶּשֶׁר וְהַקֶּבֶר וּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת וּבֵית עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת וְהָאוֹצָרוֹת שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן בֵּית דִּירָה וְהַבּוֹר וְהַשִּׁיחַ וְהַמְּעָרָה וְהַשּׁוֹבָךְ וּבַיִת שֶׁבַּסְּפִינָה כָּל אֵלּוּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין עִמָּהּ:

5

[The following rule applies when] two towns are located next to each other: If the distance between them is 141 1/3 cubits [or less], so that [the distance between them] is seventy and a fraction [as measured] from one town and seventy and a fraction [as measured] from the other town, they are considered to be a single city. Accordingly, [the inhabitants of] each town can walk throughout the other town and two thousand cubits outside of it.

[The following rules apply when] three villages are located in a triangle: If there are two thousand cubits or less between the village in the middle and both of the villages on the extremities, and there are 282 2/3 cubits [or less] between the villages on the extremities, so that if the middle village were placed on the line between them, there would be 141 1/3 cubits [or less] between it and both13 of them,14 they are all considered to be a single city. When [a Sabbath limit] is measured, it is measured two thousand cubits in all directions from [the single unit created from] these three [villages].

When the wall15 of a city was erected, and the city was settled afterwards, we measure [the Sabbath limit] from [the end of] the settled area [and not from the wall]. If it was settled and then surrounded [by a wall], we measure from the wall.16

ה

הָיוּ שְׁתֵּי עֲיָרוֹת זוֹ סְמוּכָה לָזוֹ אִם יֵשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶן מֵאָה וְאַרְבָּעִים וְאַחַת וּשְׁלִישׁ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וְשִׁירַיִם לָזוֹ וְשִׁבְעִים אַמָּה וְשִׁירַיִם לָזוֹ חוֹשְבִין שְׁתֵּיהֶן כְּעִיר אַחַת וְנִמְצֵאת כָּל עִיר מֵהֶן מְהַלֶּכֶת אֶת כָּל הָעִיר הַשְּׁנִיָּה וָחוּצָה לָהּ אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה. הָיוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה כְּפָרִים מְשֻׁלָּשִׁין אִם יֵשׁ בֵּין הָאֶמְצָעִי וּבֵין כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מִן הַחִיצוֹנִים אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה אוֹ פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן וּבֵין הַשְּׁנַיִם הַחִיצוֹנִים מָאתַיִם שָׁלֹשׁ וּשְׁמוֹנִים פָּחוֹת שְׁלִישׁ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֵּין כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן וּבֵין הָאֶמְצָעִי כְּשֶׁתִּרְאֶה אוֹתוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא בֵּינֵיהֶן מֵאָה וְאַרְבָּעִים וְאַחַת אַמָּה וּשְׁלִישׁ הֲרֵי שְׁלָשְׁתָּן כִּמְדִינָה אַחַת וּמוֹדְדִין אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ מִחוּץ לִשְׁלָשְׁתָּן. עִיר שֶׁהֻקְּפָה וּלְבַסּוֹף יָשְׁבָה מוֹדְדִין לָהּ מִישִׁיבָתָהּ. יָשְׁבָה וּלְבַסּוֹף הֻקְּפָה מוֹדְדִין לָהּ מֵחוֹמוֹתֶיהָ:

6

When a city is rectangular or square, since it has four angles that are equal, we leave it as it is, and measure two thousand cubits in each direction on all four sides.

17

If it is circular, we construct an [imaginary] square around it, considering it as the center of that square. We measure two thousand cubits from the sides of that square in all directions. Thus, [the inhabitants] gain [the area] at the corners.

ו

עִיר שֶׁהָיְתָה אֲרֻכָּה אוֹ מְרֻבַּעַת הוֹאִיל וְיֵשׁ לָהּ אַרְבַּע זָוִיּוֹת שָׁווֹת מַנִּיחִין אוֹתָהּ כְּמוֹת שֶׁהִיא וּמוֹדְדִין לָהּ אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ מֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתֶיהָ. הָיְתָה עֲגֻלָּה עוֹשִׂין לָהּ זָוִיּוֹת וְרוֹאִין אוֹתָהּ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא בְּתוֹךְ הַמְרֻבָּע וּמוֹדְדִין חוּץ מִצַּלְעוֹת אוֹתוֹ מְרֻבָּע אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ שֶׁנִּמְצָא מִשְׂתַּכֵּר הַזָּוִיּוֹת:

7

Similarly, if a city is triangular in shape, or if it has many different sides, we construct a square around it, and afterwards measure two thousand cubits from each side of that square.

When we construct a square around a city, we construct this square according to the compass directions,18 making each of its sides face one of the four directions and extend in a straight line vertically or horizontally.

ז

וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה הָעִיר מְשֻׁלֶּשֶׁת אוֹ שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ צְלָעוֹת רַבּוֹת מְרַבְּעִין אוֹתָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מוֹדְדִין חוּץ לַמְרֻבָּע אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ. וּכְשֶׁהוּא מְרַבְּעָהּ מְרַבְּעָהּ בְּרִבּוּעַ הָעוֹלָם כְּדֵי שֶׁתְּהֵא כָּל רוּחַ מִמֶּנָּה מְשׁוּכָה כְּנֶגֶד רוּחַ מֵרוּחוֹת הָעוֹלָם וּמְכֻוֶּנֶת כְּנֶגְדָּהּ:

8

When a city is [shaped like a trapezoid,] one side being shorter than the other, we consider both sides to be of the length of the longer side.

[The following rules apply when a city] is L-shaped or crescent-shaped: If there are less than four thousand cubits between the two points on the extremities,19 we measure [the Sabbath limit] from [the imaginary line that connects these points].20 When there are more than four thousand cubits between the two points on the extremities, we measure [the Sabbath limit] from [the vertex of] the crescent.21

ח

הָיְתָה רְחָבָה מִצַּד אֶחָד וּקְצָרָה מִצַּד אֶחָד רוֹאִין אוֹתָהּ כְּאִלּוּ הִיא כֻּלָּהּ רְחָבָה. הָיְתָה עֲשׂוּיָה כְּמִין גַּ''ם אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה עֲשׂוּיָה כְּקֶשֶׁת אִם יֵשׁ בֵּין שְׁנֵי רָאשֶׁיהָ פָּחוֹת מֵאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים אַמָּה מוֹדְדִין לָהּ מִן הַיֶּתֶר וְרוֹאִין אֶת כָּל הָרֹחַב שֶׁבֵּין הַיֶּתֶר וְהַקֶּשֶׁת כְּאִלּוּ הוּא מָלֵא בָּתִּים. וְאִם הָיָה בֵּין שְׁנֵי רָאשֶׁיהָ אַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים אֵין מוֹדְדִין לָהּ אֶלָּא מִן הַקֶּשֶׁת:

9

[The following rules apply to] a city located at the edge of a river:22 If there is a dock four cubits wide at the river bank, so that one can stand on it and use the river, the river is considered to be part of the city. Thus, [the Sabbath limit of] two thousand cubits is measured from the other bank of the river, because the dock causes the river to be considered part of the city.

If there is no dock, the measurement begins from the edge of the houses,23 and [the width of] the river is included in the two thousand cubits.

ט

עִיר שֶׁיּוֹשֶׁבֶת עַל שְׂפַת הַנַּחַל. אִם יֵשׁ לְפָנֶיהָ דַּקָּה רֹחַב אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל שְׂפַת הַנַּחַל כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּעַמְדוּ עָלֶיהָ וְיִשְׁתַּמְּשׁוּ בַּנַּחַל נִמְצָא הַנַּחַל בִּכְלַל הָעִיר וּמוֹדְדִין לָהּ אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה מִשְּׂפַת הַנַּחַל הַשְּׁנִיָּה וְיֵעָשֶׂה הַנַּחַל כֻּלּוֹ בִּכְלַל הַמְּדִינָה מִפְּנֵי הַדַּקָּה הַבְּנוּיָה מִצִּדּוֹ. וְאִם לֹא הָיָה שָׁם דַּקָּה אֵין מוֹדְדִין לָהֶן אֶלָּא מִפֶּתַח בָּתֵּיהֶן וְנִמְצָא הַנַּחַל נִמְדָּד מִן הָאַלְפַּיִם שֶׁלָּהֶם:

10

[The following laws apply to] the dwellers of huts:24 [The Sabbath limits] should be measured from the entrance to their homes.25 If [in that area] there are three courtyards with two houses26 in each, [the entire area] is established [as a unit].27 A square is constructed around it, and two thousand cubits are measured [from its borders], as all other cities.

י

יוֹשְׁבֵי צְרִיפִין אֵין מוֹדְדִין לָהֶן אֶלָּא מִפֶּתַח בָּתֵּיהֶן. וְאִם יֵשׁ שָׁם שָׁלֹשׁ חֲצֵרוֹת שֶׁל שְׁנֵי שְׁנֵי בָּתִּים הֻקְבְּעוּ כֻּלָּם וּמְרַבְּעִין אוֹתָהּ וְנוֹתְנִין לָהֶם אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ כִּשְׁאָר הָעֲיָרוֹת:

11

[The two thousand cubits of the Sabbath limits] should be measured only by using a rope of fifty cubits,28 but not a shorter29 or a longer one.30 The rope should be made of flax, so that it will not stretch beyond [that length].

When [the measurers] reach a crevice that is fifty cubits [or less] wide, so that [its width] can be spanned [by the length of] the measuring rope, this should be done,31 provided [the crevice] is less than four thousand cubits deep.32

יא

אֵין מוֹדְדִין אֶלָּא בְּחֶבֶל שֶׁל חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה לֹא פָּחוֹת וְלֹא יֶתֶר וּבְחֶבֶל שֶׁל פִּשְׁתָּן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִמָּשֵׁךְ יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי. הִגִּיעַ לְגַיְא אִם הָיָה רָחְבּוֹ חֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה שֶׁיָּכוֹל לְהַבְלִיעוֹ בְּחֶבֶל הַמִּדָּה מַבְלִיעוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּעָמְקוֹ פָּחוֹת מֵאַרְבַּעַת אֲלָפִים:

12

When does the above apply? When a plumb line descends directly [into the crevice], for then [the slopes of the crevice] cannot be used.33 If, however, the plumb line does not descend directly,34 one should not span [the crevice with the measuring rope], unless the crevice is two thousand cubits or less in depth.

יב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁהָיָה חוּט הַמִּשְׁקלֶת יוֹרֵד כְּנֶגְדּוֹ שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אֵין חוּט הַמִּשְׁקלֶת יוֹרֵד כְּנֶגְדּוֹ אֵינוֹ מַבְלִיעוֹ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה עָמְקוֹ אַלְפַּיִם אוֹ פָּחוֹת מִכֵּן:

13

With regard to a valley with a gradual descent, one should ascend and descend, measuring by approximation.35 If the valley is more than fifty cubits wide and thus cannot be spanned [by the measuring rope], [the measurers] should go to a place where they can span the gap,36 measure the span [there], see the parallels to [the place they are] measuring, and return to their task.

יג

הָיָה גַּיְא מְעֻקָּם מְקַדֵּר וְעוֹלֶה מְקַדֵּר וְיוֹרֵד. הָיָה גַּיְא רָחָב מֵחֲמִשִּׁים שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַבְלִיעוֹ הוֹלֵךְ לְמָקוֹם שֶׁהוּא יָכוֹל לְהַבְלִיעוֹ וּמַבְלִיעוֹ וְצוֹפֶה כְּנֶגֶד מִדָּתוֹ וְחוֹזֵר:

14

When [the measurers] reach a wall, we do not say that they must pierce the wall [to continue measuring].37 Instead, it is sufficient to approximate its thickness and continue.38

If the wall can be used [by the public],39 it must be measured in an exact manner.40 Similarly, if a plumb line will descend directly parallel [to the wall],41 its thickness should be measured exactly.

יד

הִגִּיעַ לְכֹתֶל אֵין אוֹמְרִים יִקֹּב אֶת הַכֹּתֶל אֶלָּא אוֹמֵד רָחְבּוֹ וְהוֹלֵךְ לוֹ. וְאִם אֶפְשָׁר לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בּוֹ מוֹדְדוֹ מְדִידָה יָפָה. וְאִם הָיָה חוּט הַמִּשְׁקלֶת יוֹרֵד כְּנֶגְדּוֹ מוֹדֵד רָחְבּוֹ מְדִידָה יָפָה:

15

[The following rules apply when the measurers] reach a mountain: If the slope of the mountain ascends ten handbreadths within a length of five cubits, [the measurers should] measure the span [above the mountain],42 and return to their [ordinary] measurement.

If its height rises acutely, its slope ascending ten handbreadths within a length of four cubits, [all that is necessary is] to approximate [its length], and then one may proceed further.

If a mountain is so wide that [the measuring rope] cannot span it - i.e. it is more than fifty cubits wide - it should be measured by approximation, small portions at a time. This is the meaning of the expression,43 "In the mountains, they measured by approximation."

טו

הִגִּיעַ לְהַר אִם הָיָה הַר מִתְלַקֵּט מִמֶּנּוּ גָּבוֹהַּ עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים בְּאֹרֶךְ חָמֵשׁ אַמּוֹת מַבְלִיעוֹ וְחוֹזֵר לְמִדָּתוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה גָּבוֹהַּ הַרְבֵּה עַד שֶׁיִּתְלַקֵּט מִמֶּנּוּ עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים מִתּוֹךְ מֶשֶׁךְ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת אוֹמְדוֹ וְהוֹלֵךְ לוֹ. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַבְלִיעוֹ כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה רָחְבּוֹ יֶתֶר מֵחֲמִשִּׁים מְקַדְּרוֹ מְעַט מְעַט. וְזֶה הוּא שֶׁאָמְרוּ מְקַדְּרִין בֶּהָרִים:

16

What is implied [by the directive to] measure mountains or valleys that cannot be spanned by approximation? Two people hold a rope four cubits long. The person above should hold the upper end at the level of his feet, while the person below should hold the lower end at the level of his heart.44 The person standing above then descends to the level of the person standing below, who, in turn, descends further to the extent of the rope. [The entire process should be repeated and] continued until the entire area has been measured.

When [the measurers] go to span a mountain or a valley,45 they should not depart from the Sabbath limits, lest passersby see them and say, "The Sabbath limits passed by here."

טז

כֵּיצַד מְקַדְּרִין בְּהָרִים אוֹ בְּגֵיאָיוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַבְלִיעָן. אוֹחֲזִין שְׁנַיִם חֶבֶל שֶׁל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת הָעֶלְיוֹן אוֹחֵז קְצָתוֹ מִכְּנֶגֶד מַרְגְּלוֹתָיו וְהַתַּחְתּוֹן אוֹחֵז בַּקָּצֶה הַשֵּׁנִי כְּנֶגֶד לִבּוֹ וְחוֹזֵר הָעֶלְיוֹן לַעֲמֹד בִּמְקוֹם הַתַּחְתּוֹן וְהַתַּחְתּוֹן יוֹרֵד וּמַרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ מִדַּת הַחֶבֶל וְכֵן מִתְגַּלְגְּלִים וְהוֹלְכִין עַד שֶׁמּוֹדְדִין אֶת כֻּלּוֹ. וּכְשֶׁיֵּלֵךְ הַמּוֹדֵד לְהַבְלִיעַ הָהָר אוֹ הַגַּיְא לֹא יֵצֵא חוּץ לַתְּחוּם שֶׁלֹּא יִרְאוּ אוֹתוֹ הָעוֹבְרִים וְיֹאמְרוּ מִדַּת תְּחוּמִין בָּאָה לְכָאן:

17

We rely only on the measurement by an expert46 who is proficient in the measuring of land. If the Sabbath limits [of a city] had been established and an expert came and measured [them again], increasing them in some places and decreasing them in others, we accept his ruling regarding the limits that he increased.47

Similarly, if two experts came and measured the Sabbath limits, one giving a larger measure and the other giving a smaller measure, we accept the ruling of the one who gives the larger measure,48 provided that the inconsistency is not greater than the difference between the diagonal [and the border of] a city.49

יז

אֵין סוֹמְכִין אֶלָּא עַל מְדִידַת אָדָם מֻמְחֶה שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ מִדַּת הַקַּרְקַע. הָיוּ לָנוּ תְּחוּמֵי שַׁבָּת מֻחְזָקִין וּבָא מֻמְחֶה וּמָדַד רִבָּה בַּתְּחוּם מֵהֶן וּמִעֵט בַּתְּחוּם. שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ בַּתְּחוּם שֶׁרִבָּה. וְכֵן אִם בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם מֻמְחִין וּמָדְדוּ הַתְּחוּם אֶחָד רִבָּה וְאֶחָד מִעֵט שׁוֹמְעִין לַמְרַבֶּה. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יְרַבֶּה יֶתֶר מִמִּדַּת אֲלַכְסוֹנָהּ שֶׁל עִיר:

18

What is implied? We can say that the reason the latter increased the measure was the following: The first erred and measured the two thousand [cubits] from the corner of the city diagonally.50 Therefore, he reduced its measurement, and the distance between the border of the Sabbath limits and the city will be less than two thousand [cubits]. [By contrast,] the second person [who measured] measured the two thousand [cubits] from the edge of the city [and therefore produced a larger figure]. We do not, however, consider the possibility of the first person's making any greater mistake.

Accordingly, if the latter measure is less than 580 cubits51 more than the original measure, it is accepted. A larger increase, however, is not accepted.

יח

כֵּיצַד. בְּעֵת שֶׁיְּרַבֶּה זֶה נֹאמַר שֶׁמָּא הָרִאשׁוֹן מִקֶּרֶן אֲלַכְסוֹן שֶׁל עִיר מָדַד הָאַלְפַּיִם וּלְפִיכָךְ מִעֵט מִדָּתוֹ וְנִמְצָא צֶלַע הַתְּחוּם בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין הַמְּדִינָה פָּחוֹת מֵאַלְפַּיִם. וְזֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן מָדַד אַלְפַּיִם מִצֶּלַע הַמְּדִינָה. וְאֵין מַחֲזִיקִין עַל הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁטָּעָה בְּיוֹתֵר עַל זֶה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם רִבָּה זֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן יֶתֶר עַל הָרִאשׁוֹן אֲפִלּוּ בַּחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת וּשְׁמוֹנִים אַמָּה בְּקֵרוּב שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. בְּיוֹתֵר עַל זֶה אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ:

19

Even when a servant or a maidservant52 says, "The Sabbath limits reach here,"53 their statements are accepted. An adult's statement is accepted if he says, "We would proceed until this place when I was a child." His testimony is relied on in this instance, 54since our Sages stated that the lenient approach should be accepted in these rulings, and not the more stringent one, because the measure of two thousand cubits is a Rabbinic institution.

יט

אֲפִלּוּ עֶבֶד אֲפִלּוּ שִׁפְחָה נֶאֱמָנִין לוֹמַר עַד כָּאן תְּחוּם הַשַּׁבָּת. וְנֶאֱמָן הַגָּדוֹל לוֹמַר זָכוּר אֲנִי שֶׁעַד כָּאן הָיִינוּ בָּאִים בְּשַׁבָּת כְּשֶׁהָיִיתִי קָטָן. וְסוֹמְכִין עַל עֵדוּתוֹ בְּדָבָר זֶה. שֶׁלֹּא אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים בַּדָּבָר לְהַחֲמִיר אֶלָּא לְהָקֵל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁשִּׁעוּר אַלְפַּיִם אַמָּה מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

Footnotes
1.

See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Eruvin 5:2) which notes the difference between the figures mentioned here and the precise mathematical terms. See also Tosafot Yom Tov, Eruvin 5:2.

2.

See Halachot 6 and 7, which state that a square should be made to include the furthermost extremities of the city, and the Sabbath limits should be measured from there.

3.

The Maggid Mishneh notes that the Rambam appears to be saying that the Sabbath limits are measured from the edge of the city. He notes that there are opinions (see Eruvin 5:2) that grant a city a karpef (a seventy and two-thirds cubit extension) even if it is not close to another city. According to those views, the Sabbath limits are calculated seventy and two thirds cubits from the city's boundaries. The Rambam (Commentary on the Mishnah) rejects that view.

The Rambam's opinion is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 398:5). The other view is accepted by the Tur and quoted by the Ramah.

4.

The intent is a permanent dwelling. A temporary structure, or a building that does not have facilities for lodging is not sufficient, as explained in the following halachot.

5.

The Magen Avraham 398:6 emphasizes that this does not include all structures with a total area of sixteen square cubits. Each side of the building must be at least four cubits. (See a parallel in Hilchot Mezuzah 6:2.)

6.

Rav David Arameah explains that it was common for a bridge to have a dwelling for a toll collector, and a grave to have a dwelling for a watchman.

7.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Ma'aser 3:7).

8.

The bracketed additions are based on Rashi's commentary (Eruvin 55b).

9.

Such a house is useful in unloading cargo from ships (Magen Avraham 398:7).

10.

The Ra'avad notes that the question of whether such a structure is acceptable is left unresolved by Eruvin, loc. cit. Accordingly, he rules stringently. The Rambam's position is, however, followed by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 398:6).

11.

The commentaries on Eruvin 55b state that the latter three are excluded even if there are people who inhabit them.

12.

Because it is not anchored permanently and may depart, it is considered to be a temporary dwelling (Magen Avraham 398:10).

13.

See the Chatam Sofer (Orach Chayim, Responsa 94), which emphasizes that each of the exterior villages can be no more than 141 1/3 cubits from the imaginary line leading to the middle village. It is not sufficient that there be a total sum of less than 282 2/3 cubits between the two villages.

14.

This phrase and the phrase that precedes it create a difficulty. From the phrase, "there are 282 2/3 cubits [or less] between the villages on the extremities," one would assume that this rule does not apply when the two villages on the extremities are separated by a greater distance. Nevertheless, the phrase "if the middle village were placed on the line between them, there would be 141 1/3 cubits [or less] between it and both of them," appears to imply that even were the distance between the two villages on the extremities to exceed 282 2/3 cubits, as long as the villages on the extremities are not more than 141 1/3 cubits from the place the middle city would take up, it is acceptable.

From the diagram that the Rambam drew to accompany his Commentary on the Mishnah (Eruvin 5:3), the former interpretation would appear appropriate. (Similarly, the Ra'avad interprets the Rambam's intent in this manner and, therefore, objects.) Nevertheless, both the Maggid Mishneh and the Radbaz state that the width of the city should be added to the sum of 282 2/3 cubits. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 398:8) quotes the Rambam's wording verbatim. The Ramah, however, clarifies the ruling according to the interpretation of the Maggid Mishneh.

15.

This refers to a wall on which there are no dwellings (Maggid Mishneh).

16.

Rashi (Eruvin 26a) explains that when a wall is erected after an area has been settled, the wall causes the entire village to be considered as if it were four cubits in length. Therefore, we measure from the wall. When, by contrast, the wall was erected before the houses were built, the wall is not halachically significant. Accordingly, the Sabbath limits are measured from the houses. Based on the Rambam's statement's in Halachah 2, it is questionable if he would accept this interpretation.

17.

Eruvin 55a and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 398:1) state that even if the sides of such a city are not positioned directly north and south, nothing is added to its size, because it is rectangular or square in shape.

18.

This applies even when the total area of the square is increased by constructing it in this fashion.

19.

I.e., if the Sabbath limits of the houses on the extremities overlap, the houses are considered to be part of a single entity.

20.

This applies regardless of the distance from the vertex of the crescent to the imaginary line connecting its extremities. Even if it is more than two thousand cubits, the entire area is considered to be a single unit (Kessef Mishneh).

21.

This applies to the house at the vertex. The Rashba considers each of the sides of the crescent to be a separate city. Sefer Ha'Itim considers every house to be an entirely separate entity. The Magen Avraham 398:2 states that the entire crescent is considered to be a single entity. According to this conception, the only difference between this instance and the previous clause is that one may not walk more than two thousand cubits away from the houses in the open area between them.

Based on the rulings of Rabbenu Asher and the Tur, the Ramah mentions two leniencies: a) Even when the two extremities of the crescent are more than four thousand cubits away from each other, the entire area of the crescent until the points on the either side which are four thousand cubits removed, is, nevertheless, considered to be a single entity.

b) If the space from the vertex of the crescent to the imaginary line connecting the two extremities is less than two thousand cubits, the entire area is considered to be a single entity even though there are more than four thousand cubits between each side.

22.

Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi - and subsequently the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 398:9) - interpret this as referring to a river that usually dries up and is filled with water only during the rainy season.

23.

The city itself, however, is considered to be a collective entity (Maggid Mishneh). Note Rashi (Eruvin 61a), who follows a different perspective entirely, stating that, because there is no dock, the city is not considered as a permanent location, and every home is judged to be an individual entity.

24.

More specifically, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Ma'asrot 3:7), the Rambam defines the Hebrew צריפין as referring to "V-shaped lean-tos made from reeds and wood."

25.

These huts are not considered to be permanent dwellings. Hence, their aggregate is not considered to be a unit. Note, however, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 398:10), who states that if a group of such dwellings is surrounded by a wall ten handbreadths high or a trench ten handbreadths deep, they are considered to be a single unit.

26.

This refers to permanent structures built of wood and/or stone.

27.

The three courtyards, each containing two houses, are sufficient to be classified as a city (Eruvin 59a). Since we are classifying the permanent houses as a city, that status is conferred upon the area as a whole, including also the huts.

28.

Eruvin 58a interprets Exodus 27:18, "its width fifty by fifty," as an indication that the width of fifty cubits should be measured with a rope of that size.

29.

For when the rope is shorter, the measurers may pull it tightly and extend its length (Rashi, Eruvin 58a).

30.

For when the rope is longer, it may sag and cause the measure to be shortened (Rashi, Eruvin 58a).

31.

I.e., rather than measure the length of the incline, the entire valley should be measured as a unit of fifty cubits or less.

32.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this represents the Rambam's interpretation of the statements of Abbimi (Eruvin 58b). Rabbenu Asher offers a different interpretation of that passage, which is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 399:4).

33.

For the incline is too steep.

34.

And thus the slopes of the incline can be used for various purposes.

35.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Eruvin 5:4). See Halachah 16 for an explanation of the process followed.

36.

Provided it is within the Sabbath limits. He should not, however, go beyond the Sabbath limits, lest an observer notice his measurements and mistakenly think that the place is within the Sabbath limits (Eruvin 58b and Halachah 16 above).

37.

Tosafot, Eruvin 58a, states that the intent is not actually to pierce the wall, but that one would be required to erect poles extending above the wall and measure from them.

38.

The Rambam is referring to a wall whose sides are not straight, and hence the determination of its exact thickness is difficult.

39.

I.e., its incline is gentle enough to allow the public to ascend it without difficulty.

40.

The Rambam's ruling follows the version of Eruvin 58a that appears in the texts of several early geonim. The standard printed text of the Talmud differs. In his gloss, the Ra'avad refers to the version of the standard text.

41.

And thus its thickness can be measured easily at either side. It must be measured exactly. The leniency granted in the first clause applies to a wall that ascends gradually, but not gradually enough to make it easily accessible for public use.

42.

By erecting a pole equivalent to the height of the mountain on either side (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 399:4).

43.

Eruvin 5:4.

44.

In this way, the rope will be held horizontally, on more or less an even plane.

45.

Which cannot be measured in the normal manner, as mentioned in Halachot 13 and 15. See also Halachah 19.

46.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Eruvin 5:5), the Rambam defines this as a person who knows engineering and is proficient in the measurement of land.

47.

The Rambam's wording appears to imply that one accepts the opinion of the expert only with regard to the Sabbath limits that he increased, but not with regard to those that he decreased. The Maggid Mishneh and the Kessef Mishneh note that although the Rambam is quoting the wording of the Mishnah (Eruvin, loc. cit.), the Talmud (Eruvin 59a) explains that the ruling of the expert must be accepted even with regard to those places where he decreased the Sabbath limit. The Kessef Mishneh notes that even in his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam follows this interpretation.

Note, however, Merkevet HaMishneh, which explains the Rambam's ruling here according to its simple interpretation. When the original measurement of a city's Sabbath limits was made by ordinary people, the expert's advice must be adhered to entirely, whether it is more stringent or more lenient. When, however, the original limits were also established by experts, the situation resembles the latter clause of the halachah, and the second expert's opinion is followed only when it is more lenient.

48.

Because, as stated in Halachah 19, the more lenient opinion is accepted, since the Sabbath limit of two thousand cubits is a Rabbinic institution.

49.

We do not say that the difference between the two figures could only be a minute measure because of imprecision. Instead, we allow the possibility of a major error, as explained in the following halachah.

50.

Instead of measuring 2000 cubits on the diagonal, the person should have measured approximately 2800, as explained in Chapter 27, Halachah 2, and notes. Measuring only 2000 cubits on the diagonal causes the entire measure to become reduced.

51.

I.e., if the diagonal of a square is 2000, the side will be approximately 1420. The figure stated by the Rambam is not exact, as the commentaries mention in detail.

52.

There are two difficulties regarding the statements of a servant or maidservant. First, they are not acceptable witnesses. Also, as a whole, such individuals are known to be less than careful with regard to ritual observance.

53.

I.e., the servant's statements were intended to increase the Sabbath limit of a city by saying that the limit originally established was greater than the one observed at present.

54.

Generally, a person's testimony is accepted only when he qualifies as a witness at the time he saw an event take place and at the time he gives his testimony. Since a child is not an acceptable witness, testimony of this nature would ordinarily be rejected. In this instance, however, it is accepted. (See Hilchot Edut 14:3 for other examples of instances in which similar testimony is accepted.)

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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 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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