The following laws apply with regard to courtyards in villages where every person builds a house for himself, and thus the courtyard in between the two houses is used jointly by all the members of the two households. Every opening is granted four cubits in front of it for the entire length of the opening. With regard to the remainder of the courtyard, if there is enough to provide every partner with four cubits by four cubits, it is divided. If not, it is not divided. For any courtyard that is not four cubits by four cubits cannot be called a courtyard, as we have explained.

What is implied? If there were two partners, one owned two houses in the courtyard and the other owned one. For the one who owns two houses, we grant him four cubits from the courtyard in front of the entire width of the entrances to each of his homes, even if the entrances of each are ten cubits wide. And we give the partner who owns one house four cubits in front of the entire width of the entrance to his home.

With regard to the remainder of the courtyard, if it is at least eight cubits by four cubits, so that each one will receive a portion at least four cubits by four cubits in addition to the area in front of the entrances, it is considered large enough to divide, and it should be divided. If it is smaller than this, it is not large enough to divide.


חַצְרוֹת הַכְּפָרִים שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד בּוֹנֶה לוֹ בַּיִת וְנִמְצֵאת הֶחָצֵר שֶׁבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַבָּתִּים מְשֻׁתֶּפֶת לְכָל בְּנֵי הַבָּתִּים. הֲרֵי יֵשׁ לְכָל פֶּתַח וּפֶתַח אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת לְפָנָיו בְּרֹחַב כָּל הַפֶּתַח. וְהַנִּשְׁאָר מִן הֶחָצֵר אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת לְכָל שֻׁתָּף וְשֻׁתָּף חוֹלְקִין אוֹתָהּ וְאִם לָאו אֵין חוֹלְקִין אוֹתָהּ שֶׁכָּל חָצֵר שֶׁאֵין לָהּ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת אֵינָהּ קְרוּיָה חָצֵר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. כֵּיצַד. הָיוּ שְׁנֵי שֻׁתָּפִין לָזֶה שְׁנֵי בָּתִּים וְלָזֶה בַּיִת אֶחָד. זֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁנֵי בָּתִּים מוֹדְדִין לוֹ מִן הֶחָצֵר אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת לְכָל בַּיִת וּבַיִת עַל כָּל רֹחַב הַפֶּתַח אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת. וְזֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ בַּיִת אֶחָד נוֹתְנִין לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת בְּרֹחַב פִּתְחוֹ לִפְנֵי פִּתְחוֹ. וְהַנִּשְׁאָר מִן הֶחָצֵר אִם יֵשׁ בָּהּ שְׁמוֹנֶה אַמּוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא לָזֶה אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת וְלָזֶה אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת חוּץ מִן הַפְּתָחִים יֵשׁ בָּהּ דִּין חֲלוּקָה וְחוֹלְקִין. פָּחוֹת מִזֶּה אֵין בָּהּ דִּין חֲלוּקָה:


When a house in a courtyard has many entrances on all sides, it is granted four cubits on every side. If the owner designates one entrance as the entrance to the house, he is granted four cubits only opposite this entrance.


בַּיִת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ פְּתָחִים רַבִּים מִכָּל רוּחוֹתָיו יֵשׁ לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת לְכָל רוּחַ. וְאִם יִחֵד לוֹ פֶּתַח אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת כְּנֶגֶד פִּתְחוֹ:


When a person can enter an excedra carrying his load, he is not granted these four cubits. If not, he is granted these four cubits. For the sole reason our Sages said that a person is granted four cubits for every entrance is so that he can unload his burden there.


אַכְסַדְרָה אִם אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְהִכָּנֵס לְתוֹכָהּ בְּמַשָּׂאוֹ אֵין לָהּ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת וְאִם לָאו יֵשׁ לָהּ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. שֶׁלֹּא אָמְרוּ שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְכָל פֶּתַח וּפֶתַח אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת אֶלָּא לִפְרֹק שָׁם מַשָּׂאוֹ:


A person is granted four cubits in front of a guard's room or a porch.

If there are five structures that open up to a porch, and the porch opens up to a courtyard, only four cubits are granted.


בֵּית שַׁעַר אוֹ מִרְפֶּסֶת יֵשׁ לָהֶם אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. הָיוּ חֲמִשָּׁה בָּתִּים פְּתוּחִים לְמִרְפֶּסֶת וְהַמִּרְפֶּסֶת פְּתוּחָה לֶחָצֵר אֵין לָהּ אֶלָּא אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת:


A chicken coop is not granted four cubits.


לוּל שֶׁל תַּרְנְגוֹלִים אֵין לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


When a house has a roof over half of it, but not over the second half, regardless of whether the roofed portion is on the inside or toward the outside, it is not granted four cubits.


בַּיִת חֶצְיוֹ מְקֹרֶה וְחֶצְיוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקֹרֶה בֵּין שֶׁקֵּרוּיוֹ כְּלַפֵּי פְּנִים בֵּין שֶׁקֵּרוּיוֹ כְּלַפֵּי חוּץ אֵין לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת:


Although the entrance to a house is closed off, the owner is granted four cubits. If, however, the owner destroyed the doorway and closed it entirely, it is not granted four cubits.


בַּיִת סָתוּם יֵשׁ לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. פָּרַץ אֶת פְּצִימָיו אֵין לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת:


When a house is smaller than four cubits by four cubits, its owner is not granted four cubits in the courtyard.

Thus, the following rule applies if there is a courtyard with two structures, and at least one of them is smaller than this minimal size. If the courtyard contains four cubits for one owner and four cubits for the other, even though this measure reaches the entrance of the structure, the courtyard is divided.

The manure in the courtyard should be divided according to the entrances. The levy of the king for the keep of his legions is divided according to the number of people living in the courtyard.


בַּיִת שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת אֵין לוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת בֶּחָצֵר אֶלָּא אִם יֵשׁ בֶּחָצֵר אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת לָזֶה וְאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת לָזֶה עַד פֶּתַח הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה חוֹלְקִין. וְהַזֶּבֶל שֶׁל חָצֵר מִתְחַלֵּק לְפִי הַפְּתָחִים. אֲבָל אַכְסַנְיָא שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ לְפִי בְּנֵי אָדָם:


When partners desire to divide an entity that is not fit to be divided, they may divide it, although because of their actions it will no longer be called by the same name.

With regard to holy scrolls, by contrast, even though the partners desire, a scroll should not be divided.

When does the above apply? When all the sacred writings are contained in one scroll, but if the sacred writings are contained in two scrolls, they may be divided.


הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁרָצוּ לַחֲלֹק דָּבָר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ דִּין חֲלוּקָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מַפְסִידִין אֶת שְׁמוֹ חוֹלְקִין. וּבְכִתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרָצוּ לֹא יַחֲלֹקוּ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּכֶרֶךְ אֶחָד. אֲבָל בִּשְׁתֵּי כְּרִיכוֹת חוֹלְקִין:


When partners desire to divide a place that is not large enough to be divided, each one has the right to retract until the actual division is made. This applies even when the decision was confirmed with a kinyan, for this is merely a kinyan concerning words, as we have explained.

If, however, the partners made a kinyan, stating that this one desired the portion of the property in one direction, and the other desired the portion of the property in the other direction, they cannot retract. Similarly, if each one went and manifested ownership over his portion, neither can retract, even though they did not confirm their commitment with a kinyan.


מָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ דִּין חֲלוּקָה שֶׁרָצוּ שֻׁתָּפִין לְחַלְּקוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדָם כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ. שֶׁזֶּה קִנְיַן דְּבָרִים הוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אֲבָל אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדָם שֶׁזֶּה רָצָה בְּרוּחַ פְּלוֹנִי וְזֶה רָצָה בְּרוּחַ פְּלוֹנִי אֵינָן יְכוֹלִים לַחְזֹר בָּהֶם. וְכֵן אִם הָלַךְ זֶה בְּעַצְמוֹ וְהֶחֱזִיק בְּחֶלְקוֹ וְזֶה בְּעַצְמוֹ וְהֶחֱזִיק בְּחֶלְקוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא קָנוּ מִיָּדָם אֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶם יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בַּחֲבֵרוֹ:


When brothers divide an estate by lottery, once one of them receives his lot, they all acquire the remainder of the property. The rationale is that with the satisfaction that they receive from the fact that they carried out the agreement that they arranged between themselves, each one concluded the matter and transferred the appropriate share to his fellow.


הָאַחִין שֶׁחָלְקוּ וְעָשׂוּ בֵּינֵיהֶם גּוֹרָל כֵּיוָן שֶׁעָלָה גּוֹרָל לְאֶחָד מֵהֶן קָנוּ כֻּלָּן. בַּהֲנָיָה שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית לָהֶם שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ זֶה מִזֶּה לְדָבָר שֶׁהִסְכִּימוּ עָלָיו גָּמַר כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן וּמַקְנֶה לַחֲבֵרוֹ:


When brothers divide an estate, they are considered as having purchased their shares from each other. Thus, none of them is entitled to claim from any of the others the right of passage, the right to erect a ladder, the right to maintain a window, or the right to the passage of an irrigation channel. For once they have divided the property, none of them has any right with regard to the property belonging to any of the other brothers.

Therefore, one brother may tell another: "When the field was owned by one person, he would cause this irrigation ditch to pass from one place to another. Now, however, that this field has become my portion, I have the right to close the irrigation ditch." Similarly, he may block off a window that looks over his portion and build next to a ladder, even though it nullifies its usefulness.

The same laws apply when two people buy a field in partnership from one person and then decide to divide the property. Neither has any rights with regard to the portion of his colleague. The owner of either portion may dam the irrigation ditch or block off the windows.


הָאַחִין שֶׁחָלְקוּ הֲרֵי הֵן כְּלָקוֹחוֹת זֶה מִזֶּה. וְאֵין לָהֶם דֶּרֶךְ זֶה עַל זֶה. וְלֹא סֻלָּמוֹת זֶה עַל זֶה. וְלֹא חַלּוֹנוֹת זֶה עַל זֶה. וְלֹא אַמַּת הַמַּיִם זֶה עַל זֶה. שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁחָלְקוּ לֹא נִשְׁאַר לְאֶחָד מֵהֶן זְכוּת בְּחֵלֶק חֲבֵרוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ יֵשׁ לוֹמַר לָאַחִין כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה הַשָּׂדֶה כֻּלָּהּ לְאֶחָד הָיָה מַעֲבִיר בָּהּ אַמַּת הַמַּיִם הַזֹּאת מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם אֲבָל עַתָּה שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית זֶה חֶלְקִי יֵשׁ לִי לְהָסִיר אַמַּת הַמַּיִם מֵעָלַי. וְכֵן סוֹתֵם הַחַלּוֹן הַמַּשְׁקִיף עַל חֶלְקוֹ וּבוֹנֶה בְּצַד הַסֻּלָּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְבַטֵּל תַּשְׁמִישׁוֹ. וְהוּא הַדִּין בִּשְׁנַיִם שֶׁקָּנוּ שָׂדֶה מֵאֶחָד וְחָלְקוּ לֹא נִשְׁאַר לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם זְכוּת בְּחֵלֶק חֲבֵרוֹ. וּמַפְסִיק אַמַּת הַמַּיִם מֵחֶלְקוֹ וְסוֹתֵם הַחַלּוֹנוֹת:


When, by contrast, two people buy a field from two other people, or from two brothers, neither has the right to dam the irrigation ditch or to change any other of the privileges that one of the sellers had established as his own, even though it is damaging to his colleague.


אֲבָל שְׁנַיִם שֶׁקָּנוּ שָׂדֶה מִשְּׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים אוֹ מִשְּׁנֵי אַחִין. אֵין לְאֶחָד מֵהֶן לְהַפְסִיק אַמַּת הַמַּיִם וְלֹא לְשַׁנּוֹת דָּבָר מִן הַנְּזָקִים שֶׁהֶחְזִיקוּ בָּהֶן הַמּוֹכְרִין:


The following rule applies with regard to a courtyard owned in partnership that is large enough to divide or one that was divided by consent, even though it is not large enough to divide. Each of the partners may compel the other to join in the building of a wall in the middle of the courtyard, so that one will not see the other when using the courtyard.

The rationale is that damage caused by an invasion of privacy is considered to be damage.

Neither partner can claim that it is an established fact that the courtyard has remained without a wall. Instead, even though the courtyard stood many years without a divider, one partner can compel the other to join in the building of a divider whenever he desires.


חֲצַר הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ דִּין חֲלוּקָה. אוֹ שֶׁחִלְּקוּהָ בִּרְצוֹנָם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ דִּין חֲלוּקָה. יֵשׁ לְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן לָכֹף אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ לִבְנוֹת הַכֹּתֶל בָּאֶמְצַע כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִרְאֵהוּ חֲבֵרוֹ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמִּשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּחֶלְקוֹ. שֶׁהֶזֵּק רְאִיָּה הֶזֵּק הוּא וְאֵין לוֹ חֲזָקָה בֶּחָצֵר. אֶלָּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעָמְדוּ כָּךְ שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת בְּלֹא מְחִצָּה כּוֹפֵהוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת מְחִצָּה בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצֶה:


The space where the wall will be built comes from both partners.

How wide must the partition be? Everything depends on local custom. Even if the local custom is to make a partition from reeds or palm leaves, such a partition is made, provided it does not leave open space for one neighbor to look and see his colleague.


רֹחַב מְקוֹם הַכֹּתֶל מִשֶּׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם. וְכַמָּה יִהְיֶה רָחְבּוֹ. הַכּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה. וַאֲפִלּוּ נָהֲגוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת מְחִצָּה בֵּינֵיהֶם בְּקָנִים וּבְהוּצִין. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה אֲוִיר שֶׁיִּסְתַּכֵּל בּוֹ וְיִרְאֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ:


How high must the wall be? No smaller than four cubits. Similarly, in a garden, a person may compel his neighbor to separate their two gardens with a divider ten handbreadths high. But in a stretch of fields, there is no need to separate one person's stretch of fields from another unless this is the local custom.

If a person desires to make a distinction between his stretch of fields and that belonging to his colleague, he must build the barrier within his own property. Therefore, he should make a sign of approximately a cubit by a cubit of mortar on the outside to indicate that the wall belongs to him. Therefore, if the wall falls, both the land and the stones belong to him.

If the wall is built by the two of them in partnership, they should build a projection on both sides. Therefore, if the wall falls, they both share the space and the stones.


כַּמָּה גֹּבַהּ הַכֹּתֶל אֵין פָּחוֹת מֵאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת. וְכֵן בְּגִנָּה כּוֹפֵהוּ לְהַבְדִּיל גִּנָּתוֹ מִגִּנַּת חֲבֵרוֹ בִּמְחִצָּה גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים. אֲבָל בְּבִקְעָה אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַבְדִּיל בִּקְעָתוֹ מִבִּקְעַת חֲבֵרוֹ אֶלָּא בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ. רָצָה לְהַבְדִּיל בִּקְעָתוֹ מִבִּקְעַת חֲבֵרוֹ כּוֹנֵס לְתוֹךְ שֶׁלּוֹ וּבוֹנֶה וְעוֹשֶׂה חָזִית כְּמוֹ אַמָּה בְּסִיד מִבַּחוּץ כְּדֵי לְהוֹדִיעַ שֶׁהַכֹּתֶל שֶׁלּוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נָפַל הַכֹּתֶל הַמָּקוֹם וְהָאֲבָנִים שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאִם עָשׂוּ מִדַּעַת שְׁנֵיהֶם בּוֹנִים הַכֹּתֶל בָּאֶמְצַע וְעוֹשִׂין חֲזִית מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נָפַל הַכֹּתֶל הַמָּקוֹם וְהָאֲבָנִים שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶן:


The following rule applies when a person sells a garden to a colleague without any specifications. If it is attached with other gardens, we compel the purchaser to construct a fence between them. This applies even when the custom is not to erect fences in gardens. If, however, he sells a field without any specifications, we do not require him to erect a fence unless this is the local custom.


הַמּוֹכֵר גִּנָּה לַחֲבֵרוֹ סְתָם וְהָיְתָה מְעֹרֶבֶת עִם גִּנּוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת. כּוֹפִין אֶת הַלּוֹקֵחַ לִבְנוֹת אֶת הַכֹּתֶל בֵּינֵיהֶם. וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ שֶׁלֹּא לִגְדֹּר בַּגִּנּוֹת. אֲבָל אִם מָכַר בִּקְעָה סְתָם אֵין מְחַיְּבִים אוֹתוֹ לִגְדֹּר אֶלָּא בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ:


In a place where it is customary to use stones that are not hewn to build the walls that divide courtyards or gardens, each of the partners should give three handbreadths. If they use hewn stones, each of the partners should give two and a half handbreadths. If they use broken bricks, each of the partners should give two handbreadths. If they use bricks, each of the partners should give a handbreadth and a half. All these measures include the thickness of the wall and the mortar.

Since the space of the wall belongs equally to both of them, should the wall fall, the space and the stones are shared equally between them. Even if the wall fell into the property of one of them, or one cleared all the stones into his property and claimed that his colleague sold him his portion or gave it to him as a gift, his word is not accepted. Instead, they are considered to belong to both of them unless one of them proves his claim.


מָקוֹם שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ לִבְנוֹת כְּתָלִים הַמַּבְדִּילִין בַּחֲצֵרוֹת אוֹ בַּגִּנּוֹת בַּאֲבָנִים שֶׁאֵינָן גָּזִית זֶה נוֹתֵן שְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים וְזֶה נוֹתֵן שְׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים. בְּגָזִית זֶה נוֹתֵן טְפָחַיִם וּמֶחֱצָה וְזֶה נוֹתֵן טְפָחַיִם וּמֶחֱצָה. בִּכְפִיסִין זֶה נוֹתֵן טְפָחַיִם וְזֶה נוֹתֵן טְפָחַיִם. בִּלְבֵנִים זֶה נוֹתֵן טֶפַח וּמֶחֱצָה וְזֶה נוֹתֵן טֶפַח וּמֶחֱצָה. וְכָל הַשִּׁעוּרִין הָאֵלּוּ עֳבִי הַכֹּתֶל עִם הַסִּיד. וְהוֹאִיל וּמְקוֹם הַכֹּתֶל מִשֶּׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם אִם נָפַל הַכֹּתֶל הֲרֵי הַמָּקוֹם וְהָאֲבָנִים שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם. וַאֲפִלּוּ נָפַל לִרְשׁוּת אֶחָד מֵהֶן אוֹ שֶׁפִּנָּה אֶחָד מֵהֶן אֶת כָּל הָאֲבָנִים לִרְשׁוּתוֹ וְטָעַן שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ חֶלְקוֹ אוֹ נְתָנוֹ לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הֵן בִּרְשׁוּת שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא רְאָיָה: