Daf 70 (Shabbas 7a-7b)
Summary. The discussion of the four domains relevant to the Sabbath continues. There are objects within a public domain that are considered to be a domain unto themselves. The distinguishing feature may be their height or whether the public is likely to walk through them or upon them. Thus, excrement is included among distinct domains regardless of its height.
Daf 71 (Shabbas 8a-8b)
Summary. The gemara considers the status of a hole less than ten tefachim deep dug in a public domain. Rava does not consider it part of the public domain even if it is used occasionally by the public: “Because forced usage is not considered proper usage.” Rav Adda bar Masna disagrees.
Rav Yehudah declares that lifting one end of an object and propelling it forward, even if done repeatedly, does not constitute carrying.
Returning to the case of one who stands on his threshold and is not liable for giving an object to a poor man who stands outside, the status of the threshold is analyzed. It is suggested that the size of the threshold makes it an “exempt area”– neither public nor private.
We must give up all that which is only seemingly ours, which does not really nourish and warm us, which does not stir us up and satisfy us, if we are to come to ourselves. –Martin Buber
It looks like my study buddy is about to take a hiatus from Talmud study and I need to look at my own relationship to this text and apply Buber’s metric. Tractate Shabbas improbably speaks to me; it colors my thinking in a way it had not the first time I read it. For example, it moves me to ask where we meet– me, the writer, and you, the reader. Are we in a public domain, in our respective private domains, or on the threshold that is somehow “exempt” from restrictions? What am I holding and what am I passing on? What am I taking from you?
Dear readers, do not keep your readings to yourselves! Put your cursor in the comment box and your fingers on the keyboard.