SECTION 349 The Laws Pertaining to the Four Cubits [Granted a Person] in the Public Domain (1-6)

סימן שמט דִּין אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים וּבוֹ ו' סְעִיפִים:

1 Every person is [granted] four cubits in the public domain in which he is permitted to carry,1 as [our Sages2 derived from] the verse,3 “Let every man abide in his place.” According to the Oral Tradition, this [instruction] was stated with regard to carrying, [implying that] no person may carry in the public domain beyond the measure of “his place,” i.e., the length of his body, which is three cubits, and an additional cubit for him to stretch out his arms and legs. Therefore, these cubits are measured [for each person individually] according to his own cubit, i.e., ([the distance] from his elbow to his middle-finger. [Indeed,] the middle-finger is called the amah4 for this reason.)

[Consequently, this measure will differ according to a person’s size.] It is greater for a tall person and smaller for a short person, for [each person] is able to extend his arms and legs within his individual four cubits. If, however, [one’s] limbs are abnormally short, i.e., his forearm is small, while his body is large, thus, his individual four cubits [measured by his forearm] are not sufficient [for him to extend his arms and legs], he is given the four cubits of an ordinary-sized person, each [cubit being] composed of six handbreadths.

Whether a standard cubit is used, or these cubits are measured for each person individually, they are measured precisely and stringently.5

א כָּל אָדָם יֵשׁ לוֹ ד' אַמּוֹת בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים שֶׁיָּכוֹל לְטַלְטֵל בָּהֶם,א,1 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרב,3 "שְׁבוּ אִישׁ תַּחְתָּיו",2 וְלָמְדוּ מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָהג שֶׁזֶּה נֶאֱמַר לְעִנְיַן טִלְטוּל, שֶׁלֹּא יְטַלְטֵל כָּל אָדָם בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים אֶלָּא כְּמִדַּת "תַּחְתָּיו",ד,1 דְּהַיְנוּ כְּמִדַּת אֹרֶךְ גּוּפוֹ, שֶׁהוּא ג' אַמּוֹת וְאַמָּה כְּדֵי לִפְשׁוֹט בָּהּ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו.ה לְפִיכָךְ מוֹדְדִים לוֹ בְּאַמָּה שֶׁלּוֹ,ו,1 דְּהַיְנוּ (מִמַּרְפֵּקוֹ (שֶׁקּוֹרִין עֶלִינְבּוֹגִי"ן בִּלְשׁוֹן אִידִישׁ) עַד רֹאשׁ אֶצְבַּע הָאֲרֻכָּה הַנִּקְרֵאת אַמָּה4 עַל שֵׁם זֶהז).

הַגָּדוֹל לְפִי גָדְלוֹ וְהַקָּטָן לְפִי קָטְנוֹ, שֶׁהֲרֵי בְּד' אַמּוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ יֵשׁ בָּהֶן כְּדֵי פְּשִׁיטוּת אֹרֶךְ גּוּפוֹ וְיָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו. וְאִם הוּא נַנָּס בְּאֵיבָרָיו,ח דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁאַמָּתוֹ קְטַנָּה וְגוּפוֹ גָּדוֹל,ט וְנִמְצָא שֶׁלֹּא יַסְפִּיקוּ לוֹ ד' אַמּוֹתָיו – נוֹתְנִים לוֹ ד' אַמּוֹת בֵּינוֹנִיּוֹת שֶׁל כָּל אָדָם,1 שֶׁכָּל אַחַת מֵהֶן שִׁשָּׁה טְפָחִים.

וּבֵין שֶׁמּוֹדְדִין לוֹ אַמּוֹת בֵּינוֹנִית, וּבֵין שֶׁמּוֹדְדִין לוֹ אַמּוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ – מוֹדְדִין אוֹתָן מְצֻמְצָמוֹת5 לְהַחֲמִיר:י

2 These four cubits [also] include their diagonal,6 i.e., the diagonal of a square 4 cubits by four cubits, which is 5 3/5 cubits.7 [This measure is derived from the Torah’s description of] the open space [around] the cities [to be given to the Levites. That space] was square and it had corners of [right-]angles, as [evident from] the phrase,8 “The southern peah…,” for the meaning of the term peah is “corner.” [Concerning this measurement, the Torah] states, “This will be for them….” Our Sages extrapolated [from this wording] that [the measures of] all who rest on Shabbos shall [be determined] in a similar manner. For example, a private domain that is four [handbreadths] by four [handbreadths] is considered as square, so that its corners are included.9 Similarly, the 2000 cubits of the Shabbos limits are not considered as circled [but rather] squared, so that [people] will benefit [from the inclusion] of the corners.10 [So too,] with regard to [the prohibition against] carrying four cubits in the public domain: Since the concept of a square or a circle does not apply to carrying four cubits in a public domain,11 [the concept that the corners must be included must be interpreted as meaning that to be liable,]12 it is necessary that [one carry an object the length of] the diagonal of a square [measuring four cubits by four cubits], for the diagonal is the extra distance of length within a square due to [the inclusion of] the corners.

There is an authority who maintains that [one who carries] from [the] four cubit [limit] to 5 3/5 cubits is exempt [according to Scriptural Law], but that it is forbidden [to do so] according to Rabbinic Law. Weight should be given to his words [and the stringency followed]. Within four [cubits], however, it is permitted [to carry] as an initial preference. One may even take an object from the beginning of the four [cubits] and place it down at their end, provided he does not take it beyond four [cubits].

ב אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת שֶׁאָמְרוּ – הֵן וַאֲלַכְסוֹנָן,יא,6 דְּהַיְנוּ אֲלַכְסוֹן שֶׁל ד' עַל ד' שֶׁהוּא ה' אַמּוֹת וְג' חֻמְשֵׁי אַמָּה,יב,7 לְפִי שֶׁבְּמִגְרְשֵׁי הֶעָרִים שֶׁהֵן מְרֻבָּעִים וְיֵשׁ לָהֶם זָוִיּוֹת, שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַריג בָּהֶם8 "אֶת פְּאַת נֶגֶב וְגוֹ'" וּ"פֵאָה" הִיא זָוִיּוֹת,יד נֶאֱמַר בָּהֶם8 "זֶה יִהְיֶה לָהֶם וְגוֹ'", וְדָרְשׁוּ חֲכָמִיםטו,6 כְּזֶה יִהְיֶה כָּל שׁוֹבְתֵי שַׁבָּת, כְּגוֹן רְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד שֶׁהוּא ד' עַל ד' יִהְיֶה גַּם כֵּן מְרֻבָּע שֶׁתִּהְיֶינָה בּוֹ זָוִיּוֹת,טז,9 וְכֵן אַלְפַּיִם שֶׁל תְּחוּם שַׁבָּת הֵן מְרֻבָּעוֹת וְלֹא עֲגֻלּוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשְׂתַּכֵּר הַזָּוִיּוֹת.יז,10 וְגַבֵּי הַעֲבָרָה ד' אַמּוֹת בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, שֶׁלֹּא שַׁיָּךְ רִבּוּעַ וְעִגּוּל,11 צָרִיךְ12 שֶׁיְּהֵא שָׁם הָאֲלַכְסוֹן שֶׁל רִבּוּעַ,יח שֶׁהָאֲלַכְסוֹן הוּא הָעוֹדֵף שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּמֶשֶׁךְ הַמְּרֻבָּע מֵחֲמַת הַזָּוִיּוֹת.

וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵריט שֶׁמִּד' אַמּוֹת עַד ה' וְג' חֳמָשִׁים פָּטוּר אֲבָל אָסוּר מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים, [וְ]יֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ לִדְבָרָיו.כ אֲבָל תּוֹךְ ד' מֻתָּר לְכַתְּחִלָּהכא אֲפִלּוּ לִטּוֹל מִתְּחִלַּת ד' וּלְהַנִּיחַ בְּסוֹף ד',כב רַק שֶׁלֹּא יוֹצִיא חוּץ לְד':

3 One who carries an object [more than] four cubits in the public domain is only liable if he carried [that distance] without stopping. If, however, [the person] stood still within four cubits and then walked again, he is exempt.

When does the above apply? When [the person] stopped to rest.13 If, however, [the person] stopped to adjust his burden, it is as if he continued walking [and he is liable].

According to Rabbinic Law, it is forbidden to take an object outside of one’s four cubits14 even if one stands or sits to rest within these four cubits, or even if one places the object on the ground within four cubits and then takes it further, beyond the [original] four cubits.15 [This stringency was imposed] lest one carry it four cubits without stopping.

This prohibitive decree was imposed even in a karmelis with regard to the [Shabbos]day itself, for the reason to be explained in sec. 352[:2].16 However, this decree was not imposed in a karmelis during bein hashmashos,17 even [when one carries] for the sake of his personal matters.18 In a public domain, by contrast, a decree was imposed concerning this even bein hashmashos, and even for matters involving a mitzvah, since it is easily possible for [a person] to come to violate a Scriptural prohibition by carrying [an object] four cubits without stopping.

For this reason as well,19 [our Sages] imposed a decree concerning taking an object from a private domain to the public domain when one person performs the akirah and another the hanachah. [This safeguard applies] even bein hashmashos and even for matters involving a mitzvah. Similarly, [such a safeguard was imposed] regarding transferring [objects from one domain to another] in an unusual manner,20 as will be stated in sec. 409.21

ג הַמַּעֲבִיר ד' אַמּוֹת בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הֶעֱבִיר בַּהֲלִיכָה אַחַת, אֲבָל אִם עָמַד בְּתוֹךְ ד' אַמּוֹת וְחָזַר וְהָלַךְ – פָּטוּר. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁעָמַד לָפוּשׁ,כג,13 אֲבָל עָמַד לְתַקֵּן מַשָּׂאוֹכד – הֲרֵי זֶה כִּמְהַלֵּךְ.

וּמִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים אָסוּר לְהוֹצִיא חֵפֶץ חוּץ לְד' אַמּוֹתכה,14 אֲפִלּוּ בְּעוֹמֵדכו אוֹ יוֹשֵׁב לָפוּשׁכז תּוֹךְ ד' אַמּוֹת, אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ מַנִּיחַ הַחֵפֶץ בָּאָרֶץ תּוֹךְ ד' אַמּוֹת וְחוֹזֵר וּמוֹלִיכוֹ חוּץ לְד' אַמּוֹת,15 גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יַעֲבִירֶנּוּ ד' אַמּוֹת בַּהֲלִיכָה אַחַת.כח,14

וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּכַרְמְלִית גָּזְרוּ עַל זֶהכט בְּעִצּוּמוֹ שֶׁל יוֹם, מִטַּעַם שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִמָּן שנ"ב,ל,16 אֲבָל בְּבֵין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת17 לֹא גָזְרוּ עַל זֶה בְּכַרְמְלִית אֲפִלּוּ לִדְבַר הָרְשׁוּת.לא,18 אֲבָל בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים גָּזְרוּ עַל זֶה אֲפִלּוּ בְּבֵין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת,לב אֲפִלּוּ לִדְבַר מִצְוָה,לג לְפִי שֶׁבְּקַל יוּכַל לָבֹא לִידֵי אִסּוּר שֶׁל תּוֹרָה, שֶׁיַּעֲבִירֶנּוּ ד' אַמּוֹת בַּהֲלִיכָה אַחַת.

וְכֵן מִטַּעַם זֶה19 גָּזְרוּ עַל הוֹצָאָה מֵרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים עַל יְדֵי "זֶה עוֹקֵר וְזֶה מַנִּיחַ" אֲפִלּוּ בְּבֵין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת לִדְבַר מִצְוָה,לד וְכֵן עַל הוֹצָאָה כִּלְאַחַר יָד,לה,20 כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִמָּן ת"ט:לו,21

4 All the above applies when one person takes the object beyond the [original] four cubits, it is just that he performs a hanachah in the interim. It is, however, permitted for a person to lift up an object in the public domain and give it to another person standing within his four cubits. That person may hand [the object] to another person22 standing next to him. [This is permitted] even though [the object is carried in this fashion for] several milin23in the public domain, because no one [person] transfers [the object] four cubits.24

The only [restriction is] that the object may not be taken beyond the Shabbos limits of the city in which [the object’s] Shabbos limits were established. An exception [to the above is an] ownerless article, for which Shabbos limits are not established at all.25

ד וְכָל זֶה כְּשֶׁאָדָם אֶחָד מוֹצִיא הַחֵפֶץ חוּץ לְד' אַמּוֹת, אֶלָּא שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה הַנָּחָה בֵּינְתַיִם.לז אֲבָל מֻתָּר לוֹ לְאָדָם לַעֲקוֹר חֵפֶץ מֵרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים וְלִתְּנוֹ לַחֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁאֶצְלוֹ בְּתוֹךְ ד' אַמּוֹתָיו, וַחֲבֵרוֹ יִתְּנֶנּוּ לַחֲבֵרוֹ22 שֶׁאֶצְלוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַחֵפֶץ הוֹלֵךְ כַּמָּה מִילִין23 בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד אֵינוֹ מַעֲבִיר ד' אַמּוֹת.לח,24

וּבִלְבָד שֶׁלֹּא יוֹצִיאוּ הַחֵפֶץ חוּץ לִתְחוּם הָעִיר שֶׁקָּנָה בָּהּ הַחֵפֶץ שְׁבִיתָה,לט,24 אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הוּא חֵפֶץ שֶׁל הֶפְקֵר שֶׁאֵינוֹ קוֹנֶה שְׁבִיתָה כְּלָל:מ,25

5 Nevertheless, the license [to transport an object] by passing it from person to person is only effective with regard to [the prohibition against] carrying [an object] beyond four cubits in a karmelis or a public domain. It is not effective with regard to transferring an object from a private domain to a public domain or a karmelis.26 ([There is a prohibition] even when one person is standing inside and another outside, and the person standing inside extends an object and the person standing outside takes it from his hand. [The first] will [thus] have performed [only] the akirah and [the second, only] the hanachah. Nevertheless, [even though the transfer is performed by two people], it is forbidden according to Rabbinic Law. [This prohibition applies] even in a karmelis and even when a mitzvah is involved, as explained in sec. 331[:8].27 [The only exception to this rule is] in an instance where sacred writings are subject to disgrace, as stated in sec. 301[:52].28)

ה וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אֵין הֶתֵּר זֶה – שֶׁנּוֹתְנוֹ לַחֲבֵרוֹ וַחֲבֵרוֹ לַחֲבֵרוֹ – מוֹעִיל אֶלָּא לְעִנְיַן טִלְטוּל חוּץ לְד' אַמּוֹת בְּכַרְמְלִית אוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, אֲבָל לֹא לְעִנְיַן טִלְטוּל מֵרְשׁוּת הַיָּחִיד לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים אוֹ לְכַרְמְלִיתמא,26 (אֲפִלּוּ אִם אֶחָד עוֹמֵד בִּפְנִים וְאֶחָד בַּחוּץ, וְזֶה שֶׁבִּפְנִים מוֹשִׁיט הַחֵפֶץ וְזֶה שֶׁבַּחוּץ נוֹטְלוֹ מִיָּדוֹ, שֶׁזֶּה עוֹקֵר וְזֶה מַנִּיחַ – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן אָסוּר מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִיםמב אֲפִלּוּ בְּכַרְמְלִית, וַאֲפִלּוּ לִדְבַר מִצְוָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִמָּן של"א,מג,27 אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן מִשּׁוּם בִּזְיוֹן כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִמָּן ש"אמד,28):

6 When there are two people [in the public domain] and the [four] cubits [granted] to [each of] them overlap – for example, there are six cubits between them – they may bring [food] and eat it in [the common space they share,]29 as long as each one does not take [an object] from the place that is [solely] his [and bring it] into [the area that is solely] the other person’s.30 [See fig. 37.]

If there are three people, and the person [B] in the middle is encompassed within [the space] of the outer two [A and C] – for example, there are eight cubits between the people positioned on the outside – the person in between is permitted to share with each of the people on the outside in the space where his four cubits overlaps [with] theirs, but [the people on either end] are forbidden [to give anything directly] to each other.31 [See fig. 38.]

ו הָיוּ שְׁנַיִם, מִקְצָת אַמּוֹתָיו שֶׁל זֶה בְּתוֹךְ שֶׁל זֶה,מה כְּגוֹן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶן ו' אַמּוֹתמו – מְבִיאִין וְאוֹכְלִים בָּאֶמְצַע,מז,29 וּבִלְבָד שֶׁלֹּא יוֹצִיא כָּל אֶחָד מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁלּוֹ לְתוֹךְ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ.30 הָיוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה, וְהָאֶמְצָעִי מֻבְלָע בֵּינֵיהֶם, כְּגוֹן שֶׁבֵּין ב' הַחִיצוֹנִים שְׁמוֹנֶה אַמּוֹת – הָאֶמְצָעִי מֻתָּר עִם כָּל אֶחָד מֵהַחִיצוֹנִים בְּמַה שֶּׁד' אַמּוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ מֻבְלָע בְּתוֹךְ שֶׁלָּהֶם, וְהֵם אֲסוּרִים זֶה עִם זֶה:31


Fig. 37: Two people who may share in a public domain. a) The first person; b) The second person; c) The 4 cubits into which the first person may deposit and pick up an article; d) The 4 cubits into which the second person may deposit and pick up an article
Fig. 37: Two people who may share in a public domain. a) The first person; b) The second person; c) The 4 cubits into which the first person may deposit and pick up an article; d) The 4 cubits into which the second person may deposit and pick up an article

Fig. 38: Transferring beverages between three people in a public domain. a) One person; b) A second person; c) A third person; d) The 2 cubits shared by the first and second persons; e) The 2 cubits shared by the second and third persons
Fig. 38: Transferring beverages between three people in a public domain. a) One person; b) A second person; c) A third person; d) The 2 cubits shared by the first and second persons; e) The 2 cubits shared by the second and third persons