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מסכת שבת






 

Steinsaltz

Rav Ashi said: Any alternative path on the side of the original path is considered a circuitous route, as it is close for this person and it is far for that person. While some will benefit from the change, it will be detrimental to others. Therefore, one may never exchange a public path for an alternative path.

§ The mishna teaches that if a field owner provides an alternative thoroughfare through his field for the public to use, the public may use both thoroughfares. The Gemara suggests: But let him say to them: Take your original thoroughfare back and give me my thoroughfare that I provided you. The Gemara answers: In accordance with whose opinion is this mishna? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says in the name of Rabbi Eliezer: If the public selected a thoroughfare through a privately owned field for themselves even without gaining the permission of the field owner, that which they selected, they selected, and they have the right to use it.

The Gemara asks: According to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, are the members of the public entitled to be robbers? Why should they be permitted to appropriate land from a private owner? Rav Giddel said that Rav said: Rabbi Eliezer refers only to a case where the public lost a thoroughfare in that field, e.g., the field was plowed over and the original course of the thoroughfare is not known. In such a case, the public has the right to determine the course anew.

The Gemara asks: If so, why does Rabba bar Rav Huna say that Rav says that the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer? His reasoning seems valid. The Gemara answers: The one who teaches this, i.e., that Rabbi Eliezer is referring to a case where a thoroughfare was lost, does not teach that, i.e., that Rav rules against Rabbi Eliezer. There is a dispute as to what Rav said.

The Gemara asks: And according to Rabba bar Rav Huna, what is the reason the field owner cannot reclaim the alternative thoroughfare that he gave to the public? The Gemara answers: It is due to the statement of Rav Yehuda, as Rav Yehuda says: With regard to a strip of land that serves as a border between two strips of land that the public took possession of as a public thoroughfare, it is prohibited to destroy it for them, i.e., prevent people from using it. Accordingly, in the case of the mishna, where the field owner actually provided the public with a thoroughfare, he may certainly not take it back.

The Gemara asks: And according to Rabbi Eliezer, through what means does the public acquire the thoroughfare they choose? The Gemara answers: By means of walking on the thoroughfare, as it is taught in a baraita: If one walked along a field’s length and its breadth, he has acquired the area inside where he walked, as walking is an effective act of acquisition; this is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. And the Rabbis say that by itself, walking is not effective at all to acquire a field, and it is not acquired until he takes possession of it using a legal act of acquisition.

Rabbi Elazar said: What is the reasoning of Rabbi Eliezer? As it is written that after God promised Abraham Eretz Yisrael, He instructed him: “Arise, walk through the land, its length and its breadth; for I will give it to you” (Genesis 13:17), in order that Abraham should thereby acquire the land. And the Rabbis, how do they interpret this verse? They hold that there, in Genesis, it was due to God’s love of Abraham that he said to him to do this, in order that it would be easy for his descendants to conquer the land. His walking was to demonstrate the divine promise and thereby emphasize his descendants’ claim to the land, but it did not effect acquisition of it.

Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: The Rabbis concede to Rabbi Eliezer with regard to a path that passes through vineyards that since the path is made only for walking on it, it can be acquired by means of walking on it.

The Gemara relates an incident involving the allocation of a path through a vineyard: When people came before Rav Yitzḥak bar Ami for judgment with regard to the width of a path through a vineyard that someone had purchased, he said to them: Give him a path wide enough so that one can carry a load [tuna] of vine branches [dishvishta] along it and is able to turn around while holding them. The Gemara comments: And we said this only in a case where the sides of the path are bounded by a fence, which would physically prevent a person from carrying a load of vine branches that are wider than the path, and therefore, if necessary, the path must be widened by breaking down the fence. But where the sides are not bound by a fence, a person carrying a load of vine branches will not be prevented from passing along it. Consequently, he needs only to be given a path wide enough so that he can lift up one foot and place it in front of the other foot.

§ The mishna teaches: The standard width of a private path is four cubits. It is taught in a baraita: Aḥerim say: A private path is wide enough so that a donkey can pass on it with his load. Rav Huna says: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Aḥerim. And it is taught in another baraita: The judges of the exile say that the standard width is two and a half cubits. And Rav Huna says: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of the judges of the exile. The Gemara asks: But doesn’t Rav Huna say: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Aḥerim? The Gemara resolves the contradiction: This definition and that definition are one and the same measure.

The mishna teaches: The standard width of a public thoroughfare is sixteen cubits. The Sages taught in a baraita: The standard width of a private path is four cubits. The standard width of a road that goes from city to city is eight cubits.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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