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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
A room that is shut up carries with it four cubits in the courtyard,1 but if the posts [of the door] have been taken down, it does not carry with it four cubits. If a room is shut up it does not render unclean all the space around it,2 but if the posts have been taken down it does render unclean all the space around it [to a distance of four cubits].3
Rabbah b. Bar Hana said in the name of R. Johanan: If the people of a town desire to close alley-ways which afford a through way to another town, the inhabitants of the other town can prevent them. Not only is this the case if there is no other way, but even if there is another way they can prevent them, on the ground of the rule laid down by Rab Judah in the name of Rab, that a field path to which the public have established a right of way must not be damaged.
R. 'Anan said in the name of Samuel: If the residents of alleyways which open out on to the public thoroughfare desire to set up doors at the entrance, the public [who use the thoroughfares] can prevent them. It was thought that this right extended only to a distance of four cubits [from the public thoroughfare], in accordance with what R. Zera said in the name of R. Nahman, that the four cubits [in the alley-way] adjoining the public thoroughfare are on the same footing as the public thoroughfare. This, however, is not the case. For R. Nahman's rule applies only to the matter of uncleanness,4 but here [in the case of the doors it does not apply because] sometimes people from the street are pushed in by the crowd a good distance.
A FIELD SHOULD NOT BE DIVIDED UNLESS THERE WILL BE NINE KABS' SPACE TO EACH. There is no difference [between this authority and R. Judah who said nine half-kabs]; each was speaking for his own district.5 What is the rule in Babylon? — R. Joseph said: [There must be] a day's ploughing [for each]. What is meant by a day's ploughing? If a day's ploughing in seed time,6 that is not a two full days' ploughing in plough time,7 and if a day's ploughing in plough time, that is not a full day's ploughing in seed time?8 — If you like I can say that a day's ploughing in plough time is meant, and in seed time [it takes a full day] where one ploughs twice,9 or if you like I can say that a day's ploughing in seed time is meant and in plough time [two full days are needed] where the ground is difficult.
If a trench is divided, R. Nahman said [enough must be left for each party to provide] a day's work in watering the field. If a vineyard, the father10 of Samuel said that three kabs' space must be left to each. It has been taught to the same effect: If a man says to another, I sell you a portion in a vineyard, Symmachus said, he must not sell him less than three kabs' space. R. Jose, however, said that this is sheer imagination.11 What is the rule in Babylon? Raba b. Kisna said: Three rows each with twelve vines, enough for a man to hoe round in one day.
R. Abdimi from Haifa said: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from the prophets and given to the wise. Is then a wise man not also a prophet?12 — What he meant was this: Although it has been taken from the prophets, it has not been taken from the wise. Amemar said: A wise man is even superior to a prophet, as it says, And a prophet has a heart of wisdom.13 Who is compared with whom? Is not the smaller compared with the greater?14 Abaye said: The proof [that prophecy has not been taken from the wise] is that a great man makes a statement, and the same is then reported in the name of another great man.15 Said Raba: What is there strange in this? Perhaps both were born under one star.16 No, said Raba; the proof is this, that a great man makes a statement and then the same is reported
Baba Bathra 12b
in the name of R. Akiba b. Joseph.1 Said R. Ashi: What is there strange in this? perhaps in this matter he was born under the same star. No, said R. Ashi; the proof is that a great man makes a statement and then it is found that the same rule was a halachah communicated to Moses at Mount Sinai. But perhaps the wise man was no better than a blind man groping his way through a window?2 — And does he not give reasons [for his opinions]?3
R. Johanan said: Since the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools and children. How given to fools? — The case of Mar son of R. Ashi will illustrate. He was one day standing in the manor of Mahuza4 when he heard a certain lunatic exclaim: The man who is to be elected head of the Academy in Matha Mehasia5 signs his name Tabiumi. He said to himself: Who among the Rabbis signs his name Tabiumi? I do. This seems to show that my lucky time has come. So he quickly went to Matha Mehasia. When he arrived, he found that the Rabbis had voted to appoint R. Aha of Difti as their head. When they heard of his arrival, they sent a couple of Rabbis to him to consult him.6 He detained them with him, and they sent another couple of Rabbis. He detained these also, [and so it went on] until the number reached ten. When ten were assembled, he began to discourse and expound the Oral Law and the Scriptures, [having waited so long] because a public discourse7 [on them] should not be commenced if the audience is less than ten. R. Aha8 applied to himself the saying: If a man is in disfavour [with Heaven] he does not readily come into favour, and if a man is in favour he does not readily fall into disfavour.
How has prophecy been given to children? A case in point is that of the daughter of R. Hisda. She was sitting on her father's lap, and in front of him were sitting Raba and Rami b. Hama. He said to her: Which of them would you like? She replied: Both. Whereupon Raba said: And let me be the second.9
R. Abdimi from Haifa said: Before a man eats and drinks he has two hearts,10 but after he eats and drinks he has only one heart, as it says, A hollow [nabub] man is two-hearted,11 the word nabub occurring also in the text nebub luhoth,12 which we translate 'hollow with planks'. R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: If a man is a wine drinker, even though his heart13 is closed like a virgin, the wine opens14 it, as it is said: New wine shall make open out [yenobeb] the maids.15
R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: That the portion [of a field assigned to a first-born]16 as a first-born and the portion assigned to him as an ordinary son should be contiguous goes without saying. What is the rule in the case of a brother-in-law?17 — Abaye replied: It is just the same. Why so? Because the Divine Law calls him 'first-born'.18 Raba, however, said: The text says: And he shall be the first-born: this means that he is regarded as a firstborn, but the assignment is not made to him as to a firstborn.19
A certain man bought a field adjacent to the estate of his father-in-law.20 When they came to divide the latter's estate, he said: Give me my share next to my own field. Rabbah said: This is a case where a man can be compelled not to act after the manner of Sodom.21 R. Joseph strongly objected to this, on the ground that the brothers22 can say to him: We reckon this field as specially valuable like the property of the family of Mar Marion.23 The law follows R. Joseph.
If there are two fields24 with two channels [running by them],25 Rabbah said: This is a case where we can apply the rule that a man can be compelled not to act after the manner of Sodom. R. Joseph strongly objected to this on the ground that sometimes one channel may continue running while the other dries up.26 The law follows R. Joseph. If, however, there are two fields adjoining one channel, R. Joseph says that in such a case we do compel a man not to act after the manner of Sodom.27 Abaye objected to this strongly on the ground that the one [who has two fields in the middle] can say, I want you to have more metayers.28 The law, however, follows R. Joseph; the increase in the number of metayers is not a matter of consequence.
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