THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THROWING AN OBJECT INTO A PIT TEN "TEFACHIM" DEEP
QUESTION: Abaye says that one who throws a mat (from Reshus ha'Rabim) into
a pit which is ten Tefachim deep and eight Tefachim wide is Chayav if the
mat lands on the bottom of the pit. If the mat lands vertically, in such a
way that it divides the width of the pit effectively making two pits, each
with less than four Tefachim in width, he is Patur. Rebbi Yochanan is in
doubt whether he is Patur, since the act of transferring from Reshus
ha'Rabim to Reshus ha'Yachid occurred simultaneously with the obliteration
of the Reshus ha'Yachid.
2) A PIT FULL OF WATER
Why does Abaye say that one is Chayav in the first case? There, too, the
thrower obliterated the Reshus ha'Yachid (by diminishing the depth of the
pit) at the same time that he threw the mat into the pit!
(a) The RITVA (see also MAHARAM) explains that when one throws the mat into
a pit, he is *using* the pit in the normal way that it is meant to be used.
In such a case, only when it is filled completely does the pit lose its
status. However, when a person throws the mat into the pit as a vertical
divider, he is not using the pit in its normal manner (i.e. storage), and
therefore it serves to diminish the dimensions of the pit.
(b) The RASHBA explains that normally, both when the mat lands vertically
or horizontally it is considered to be using the pit for its intended use,
and in neither case should the pit lose its status. The second case, (when
it landed vertically) though, is referring to when the thrower *explicitly*
expressed his intent to diminish the dimensions of the pit by leaving the
mat there. Consequently, if he did *not* express his intent, then the pit
does *not* become nullified even if the mat lands in the vertical position.
(c) RASHI does not seem to discuss at all why Abaye says that one is Chayav
in the first case. Instead, Rashi merely says that it is obvious that one
is Chayav, and Abaye mentioned it only because of the second case. Rashi is
clearly not learning like the Ritva and Rashba (who learn that there is a
Chidush even in the first case). Rashi seems to be learning that the depth
of the pit was actually more than ten Tefachim, and Abaye mentioned "ten"
only because that is the measurement needed to make a Reshus ha'Yachid. The
eight Tefachim in the width, though, is exact.
QUESTION: Abaye states that if a person throws an object from Reshus
ha'Rabim into a pit that is ten Tefachim deep and four Tefachim wide which
is full of water, he is Chayav, because water does not "nullify the walls"
of the pit. The Gemara adduces proof to Abaye's ruling from a Beraisa,
which states that if a person throws an object from Reshus ha'Rabim into
the sea, the Rabanan say he is Patur, and Rebbi Shimon says that if the
object falls into an area in the sea which is ten Tefachim deep and four
Tefachim wide, he is Chayav. We see from Rebbi Shimon's opinion that water
inside a pit does not nullify the pit.
3) A PIT FULL OF FRUIT
What proof is the Gemara citing for Abaye? While Rebbi Shimon may support
Abaye's ruling, the Rabanan argue with it! It seems that the Rabanan
maintain that water *does* nullify the walls of the pit so that it is no
longer considered Reshus ha'Yachid.
(a) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH explains that Rebbi Shimon is not arguing with the
Rabanan, but rather he is adding to their words. The Rabanan were referring
to a case where there was no pit in the sea, and Rebbi Shimon adds that if
there was a pit in the sea into which the object fell, the thrower would be
Chayav -- even according to the Rabanan.
(b) The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Shabbos 14:6) explains that the Rabanan argue with
Rebbi Shimon only in the case where there is a *sea* covering the pit, and
the water is not only inside the pit but above it as well. The water,
therefore, serves to eliminate the presence of the pit. When the pit is on
dry land, though, the Rabanan agree with Rebbi Shimon that the water inside
of the pit does not nullify it. There are a number of ways to understand
the Ra'avad's suggestion:
(1) The simplest interpretation of the Ra'avad is that the water which
covers the walls of the pit "wipe out" its Mechitzos, since they are no
longer at the surface.
(d) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 14:6) explains that the argument in the
Beraisa concerns a pit that is in the sea. Since the sea is a Karmelis, the
Rabanan maintain that the pit in the Karmelis is also considered a
Karmelis, although it has the dimensions of a Reshus ha'Yachid. Rebbi
Shimon maintains that even though the pit is located in a Karmelis, it
still retains its status as a Reshus ha'Yachid. The Rabanan would agree
that on dry land, a pit filled with water would still be considered a
(2) Some Rishonim (RASHBA, RAMBAN) seem to explain that the reason why
water does not nullify the walls of a pit is because the walls are still
visible, while fruit does serve to nullify the walls of a pit because its
walls are no longer visible (MAGID MISHNAH). Accordingly, the Ra'avads'
intention may be based on this understanding. The Rabanan maintain that a
pit underneath the sea is not considered a Reshus ha'Yachid because the
walls are not visible, due to the abundance of water on top of it. They
agree, though, that a pit full of water on dry land is considered a Reshus
ha'Yachid, because its walls are visible.
(3) The RAN explains that since the sea covering the pit is a Karmelis, the
object landed first in a Karmelis before entering the pit, and therefore
the thrower is Patur.
The Rishonim (see Ra'avad) argue with this novel answer of the Rambam, who
asserts that a pit in a Karmelis is not considered to be a Reshus
ha'Yachid. It seems that the Rambam himself also retracted his opinion (and
thus his answer to our question is also retracted). The RASHBA cites a
letter written by the Rambam to the scholars of Lunil in which he writes
that a mistake was made in the reproduction of the Mishnah Torah. Instead
of saying that a pit that is ten Tefachim deep and four Tefachim wide is
not a Reshus ha'Yachid if it is in a Karmelis, it should instead read that
a pit ten Tefachim deep and *not* four Tefachim wide is not a Reshus
ha'Yachid in a Karmelis.
QUESTION: Abaye states that if someone fills a pit with fruit, the fruit
serve to annul the walls of the pit ("Mevatel Mechitzos") and the pit is no
longer considered Reshus ha'Yachid. This ruling seems to contradict the
Gemara earlier (99b) that said that if a person throws a fig that sticks to
a wall four Amos away, the person is Chayav, because the fig does not
become part of the wall to which it is affixed and does not diminish the
four-Amah distance between the thrower and the wall. Here, however, the
fruit are viewed as becoming part of the pit so that they fill the pit and
eliminate it. Why should the fig on the wall be different than the fruit in
the pit in this respect?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Peiros) answers that a fig is not left to become subordinate
to the wall the way that fruit are left to become subordinate to a pit.
Tosfos may mean, like the RAMBAN, that since the fig is eventually going to
fall off of the wall, it does not become part of the wall. The fruit,
however, will remain in the pit indefinitely, until someone takes them out.
(b) TOSFOS suggest another answer and says that when there is only a small
amount of fruit (such as the fig stuck to the wall), it does not become
part of the wall. However, when a lot of fruit is placed in a pit, the
fruit becomes part of the pit and nullifies the walls of the pit.
It seems that RASHI (DH Chayav) agrees with this. He adds, however, that
only when the pit is *entirely* filled with fruit do we view that fruit as
annulling the walls of the pit. If the pit is not completely filled, then
the pit is still considered to be in existence and is a Reshus ha'Yachid.
(c) RABEINU CHANANEL and the RAMBAN explain that the earlier Gemara does
not mean to say that the fig does not become part of the wall. Rather, it
only becomes part of the wall (like the fruit becomes part of the pit)
*after* it lands on the wall. After it has landed, the distance from the
wall to the person is measured from the end of the fruit, and thus it will
be less than four Amos. At the time that he threw it, though, there were
exactly four Amos between him and the point at which it landed (i.e. the
wall). The Gemara, here, too, is referring to a case where one threw an
object into a pit that was already filled with fruit. The fruit diminish
the measurements of the pit so that when the person throws another object
into the pit, it is not being thrown into a Reshus ha'Yachid.
(d) The RAMBAN cites an answer in the name of TOSFOS who says that when our
Gemara says that fruit serve to nullify the walls of the pit, it is
referring to fruit which are Tevel. Since one may not move Tevel on
Shabbos, the fruit must remain in the pit and thus the pit is considered to
be nullified. The fig, though, is not Tevel, and since it may be moved on
Shabbos, it does not become part of the wall.
(e) The TOSFOS RID explains that indeed the two Sugyos are arguing. Our
Gemara maintains that fruit do act to annul the walls of the pit, and the
previous Gemara maintains that fruit do not act to annul the walls of the
4) THE SEA IS A "KARMELIS"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a sea is considered a Karmelis. The
MISHNAH BERURAH (345:49) points out that it would seem that a sea should be
considered a Reshus ha'Yachid. After all, it is more than four by four
Tefachim wide, and at any side it has a slope that descends so that the
floor of the sea is at least ten Tefachim deep. Why, then, should the sea
not be considered Reshus ha'Yachid, with the slope at its sides considered
(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (345:13) answers that the slope descending to the
seabed is considered a Mechitzah only if it slopes to a depth of ten
Tefachim *within* a stretch of four Amos (as the Gemara said earlier on
100a). The sea under discussion is one that does not have such a steep
(b) The ME'IRI and RITVA (in Eruvin 22a) explain that even if the walls of
the sea do descend steeply, the sea cannot be considered a Reshus ha'Yachid
because its walls are so far apart from each other.