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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
Because it over-manures it.
MISHNAH. CARRION, GRAVES, AND TANYARDS MUST BE KEPT FIFTY CUBITS FROM A TOWN.1 A TANYARD MUST ONLY BE PLACED ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE TOWN. R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, SAYS IT MAY BE PLACED ON ANY SIDE EXCEPT THE WEST, PROVIDING IT IS KEPT FIFTY CUBITS AWAY. FLAXWATER2 MUST BE KEPT AWAY FROM VEGETABLES AND LEEKS FROM ONIONS AND MUSTARD PLANTS FROM A BEEHIVE. R. JOSE. HOWEVER, DECLARES IT PERMISSIBLE [TO COME NEARER] IN THE CASE OF MUSTARD.
GEMARA. The question was asked: How are we to understand R. Akiba's ruling?3 [Does he mean to say that] IT [a tanyard] MAY BE PLACED ON ANY SIDE, namely, be set close to the city, EXCEPT ON THE WEST, where also it may be set, but only at a distance of fifty cubits? Or IT MAY BE PLACED ON ANY SIDE … PROVIDING IT IS KEPT FIFTY CUBITS AWAY, EXCEPT ON THE WEST, where it must not be placed at all? — Come and hear: R. Akiba says: [A tanyard] may be set on any side at a distance of fifty cubits, save on the west side, where it must not be placed at all, because it is a constant abode.
Said Raba to R. Nahman: A constant abode of what? Shall I say of winds? How can this be, seeing that R. Hanan b. Abba has said in the name of Rab: Four winds blow every day and the north wind with all of them, for without this the world could not endure a moment. The south wind is the most violent, and were it not that the Son of the Hawk4 stays it with his wings it would destroy the world, as it says, Doth the hawk soar by the wisdom, and stretch her wings towards the south?5 — No; what it means is that it is the constant abode of the Shechinah.6 For so said Joshua b. Levi: Let us be grateful to our ancestors7 for showing us the place of prayer, as it is written, And the host of heaven worshippeth thee.8 R. Aha bar Jacob strongly demurred to this [interpretation]. Perhaps, he said, [the sun and moon bow down to the east], like a servant who has received a gratuity from his master and retires backwards, bowing as he goes.9 This [indeed] is a difficulty. R. Oshaia expressed the opinion that the Shechinah is in every place. For R. Oshaia said: What is the meaning of the verse, Thou art the Lord, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, etc.?10 Thy messengers are not like the messengers of flesh and blood. Messengers of flesh and blood report themselves [after performing their office] to the place from which they have been sent, but thy messengers report themselves to the place to which they are sent, as it says. Canst thou send forth lightnings that they may go and say to thee, here we are.11 It does not say, 'that they may come and say,' but 'that they may go and say,' which shows that the Shechinah is in all places. R. Ishmael also held that the Shechinah is in all places, since R. Ishmael taught: From where do we know that the Shechinah is in all places?12 — Because it says, And behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him.13 It does not say, 'went out after him,' but went out to meet him.' This shows that the Shechinah is in all places. R. Shesheth also held that the Shechinah is in all places, because [when desiring to pray] he used to say to his attendant:14 Set me facing any way except the east. And this was not because the Shechinah is not there, but because the Minim15 prescribe turning to the east. R. Abbahu, however, said that the Shechinah is in the west; for so said R. Abbahu: What is the meaning of 'Uryah'?16 It is equivalent to avir Yah17 [air of God].
R. Judah said: What is the meaning of the verse, My doctrine shall drop [ya'arof]18 as the rain?19 This refers to the west wind which comes from the back ['oref]20 of the world. My speech shall distil [tizzal]21 as the dew:22 this is the north wind which makes gold flow,23 and so it says: Who lavish [ha-zalim] gold from the purse.24 As the small rain [se'irim]25 upon the tender grass:26 this is the east wind which rages through the world like a demon [sa'ir].27 And as showers upon the herb:28 this is the south wind which brings up showers and causes the grass to grow.
It has been taught: R. Eliezer says that the world
Baba Bathra 25b
is like an exedra,1 and the north side is not enclosed, and so when the sun reaches the north-west corner, it bends back and returns [to the east] above the firmament. R. Joshua, however, says that the world is like a tent,2 and the north side is enclosed, and when the sun reaches the north-west corner it goes round at the back of the tent [till it reaches the east], as it says. It goeth toward the south and turneth again toward the north, etc.:3 'it goes toward the south' — by day, and 'turneth again toward the north' — by night. It turneth about continually in its course and the wind returneth again to its circuits:4 this refers to the eastern and western sides of the heaven, which the sun sometimes traverses and sometimes goes round.5 He [R. Joshua] used to say: We have come round to the view of R. Eliezer,6 [since we have learnt]: 'Out of the chamber cometh the storm:7 this is the south wind; and from the scatterers cold:8 this is the north wind.9 By the breath of God ice is given:10 this is the west wind: and the abundance of waters in the downpouring:11 this is the east wind.' But it has just been stated by a Master that it is the south wind which brings showers and makes the grass grow? — There is no contradiction; when the rain falls gently [it is from the south], and when it falls heavily [it is from the east.]
Rafram b. Papa said in the name of R. Hisda: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed the south wind has not brought rain, as it says. And he decreed on the right hand and there was hunger and he consumed on the left and they were not satisfied;14 and it is written, North and right hand15 thou hast created them.
Rafram b. Papa also said in the name of R. Hisda: Since the day when the Temple was destroyed, rain no longer comes down from the 'good storehouse', as it says. The Lord shall open up to thee his good treasure:16 When Israel act according to the will of God and are settled in their own land, then rain comes down from a 'good storehouse', but when Israel are not settled on their own land, then the rain does not come down from a 'good storehouse'.
R. Isaac said: He who desires to become wise should turn to the south [when praying], and he who desires to become rich should turn to the north. The symbol [by which to remember this] is that the table [in the Tabernacle] was to the north of the altar and the candlestick to the south.17 R. Joshua b. Levi, however, said that he should always turn to the south, because through obtaining wisdom he will obtain wealth, as it says. length of days are in her [wisdom's] right hand, in her left hand are riches and honour.18 But was it not R. Joshuah b. Levi who said that the Shechinah is in the west? — [He means that] one should turn partly to the south. Said R. Hanina to R. Ashi: Those like you who live to the north of Eretz Yisrael19 should turn to the south. How do we know that Babylon is to the north of Eretz Yisrael? — From the scriptural verse, Out of the north evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.20
FLAX-WATER MUST BE KEPT AWAY FROM VEGETABLES etc. A Tanna has taught: R. Jose holds it permissible in the case of mustard. because the owner can say to the other, 'As well as you can tell me to remove my mustard from your bees, I can tell you to remove your bees from my mustard, because they come and eat the twigs of my mustard plants.'21
MISHNAH. A TREE MUST BE KEPT AWAY FROM A PIT [IN A NEIGHBOUR' S FIELD] TWENTY-FIVE CUBITS — A SYCAMORE OR A CAROB FIFTY CUBITS;22 IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHETHER THE TREE IS ON HIGHER OR LOWER GROUND OR ON A LEVEL WITH THE PIT. IF THE PIT WAS THERE FIRST, THE OWNER CAN HAVE THE TREE CUT DOWN ON GIVING COMPENSATION. IF THE TREE WAS THERE FIRST, HE CAN NOT HAVE IT CUT DOWN. IF THERE IS A DOUBT WHICH WAS THERE FIRST, HE CANNOT HAVE IT CUT DOWN. R. JOSE, HOWEVER, SAYS THAT EVEN IF THE PIT WAS THERE BEFORE THE TREE THE OWNER CANNOT HAVE THE TREE CUT DOWN, BECAUSE THIS ONE DIGS IN HIS PROPERTY, THE OTHER PLANTS IN HIS.
GEMARA. A Tanna has taught: 'Whether the tree is on higher ground than the pit or the pit is on higher ground than the tree.' If the tree is on higher ground than the pit, we can understand the prohibition, because the roots spread and damage the pit. But if the pit is higher than the tree, what reason is there? — R. Haga said in the name of R. Jose: Because the roots undermine the soil and damage the floor of the pit.
R. JOSE SAYS THAT EVEN IF THE PIT WAS THERE BEFORE THE TREE THE OWNER CANNOT HAVE THE TREE CUT DOWN, BECAUSE THIS ONE DIGS IN HIS PROPERTY. THE OTHER PLANTS IN HIS. R. Judah says in the name of Samuel: The halachah is according to R. Jose. R. Ashi said: When we studied with R. Kahana we used to say that R. Jose admits that a man is responsible for damage of which lie is the cause.23
Papi Yona'ah24 was a poor man who made some money and built a country house. There were in his neighbourhood some sesame-oil makers who, when they crushed the sesame seeds, used to make his villa shake. He appealed against them to R. Ashi,25 who said to him: When we studied with R. Kahana, we used to say that R. Jose admits that a man is responsible for the damage of which he is the cause.26 How much
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