The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
PloughingGardeningDungingRemoving StonesSowingCutting down TreesFruitsBuying and SellingTerritory included in the Sabbatical YearProduce governed by its LawsDebts and Payments.
1. "How long do men plough in a field with trees on the eve of the Sabbatical year?" 1 The school of Shammai say, "so long as it is useful for the fruit;" but the school of Hillel say, "till Pentecost," and the words of the one are near to the words of the other.
2. "What is a field with trees?" "Three trees to every fifty cubits square, if they be fit to produce a heap of figs worth sixty Italian minas;" 2 on their account men can legally plough the earth for the whole fifty cubits square around them. Less than for these they may not legally plough, save the extent of the gatherer of fruit with his basket outwards.
3. "Whether they be fruitless or fruitful?" "Men may regard them as though they were fig-trees." "If they be fit to produce a heap of figs worth sixty Italian minas?" "On their account they may legally plough the whole fifty cubits square around them. Less than for these they may not plough, save what is absolutely needful."
4. "One tree produced a heap of figs, and two trees did not produce it; or two trees produced it, and one did not produce it?" "Men may not plough save what is absolutely needful for them, till they be from three to nine in number."
[paragraph continues] "If they be ten?" "On their account men may legally plough around them the whole fifty cubits square; and also from ten trees and upwards, whether they produce or do not produce it." As is said, "in earing-time and in harvest thou shalt rest." 1 There is no need to say earing-time and harvest in the Sabbatical year, but earing-time on the eve of the Sabbatical year, when it is just entering on the Sabbatical year; and harvest of the Sabbatical year, which is proceeding towards the close of the Sabbatical year. Rabbi Ishmael said, "as the earing-time (mentioned Exod. xxxiv. 21) is voluntary, so the harvest is voluntary, except the harvest of the (omer) sheaf." 2
5. "If the three trees belong to three owners?" "They are reckoned as one, and on their account they may legally plough the whole fifty cubits square around them." "And how much space must be between them?" Rabban Simon, the son of Gamaliel, said, "that a bullock with his ploughing instruments may pass."
6. "If there be ten saplings dispersed in the fifty cubits square?" "On their account men may plough the whole fifty cubits square around them till new year's day." "If they be placed in a row, or rounded like a crown?" "Men may not plough save what is absolutely needful for them."
7. The saplings and the gourds are reckoned alike in the fifty cubits square. Rabban Simon, the son of Gamaliel said, "for every ten cucumbers in the fifty cubits square, men may plough the fifty cubits square around them till new year's day."
8. "How long are they called saplings?" Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Azariah, said, 3 "till they can be used." R. Joshua said, "till the age of seven years." R. Akiba said, "a sapling, as commonly named." "A tree decays and sprouts afresh; when less than a handbreadth, it is a sapling; when more than a handbreadth, it is a tree." The words of Rabbi Simon.
62:1 It has been a subject of dispute when the Sabbatical year beganwhether in Nisan or Tishri. The weight of evidence is, however, in favour of the civil New Year's Day, which fell in Tishri (September).
62:2 An Italian mina perhaps = a denarius. If so, the heap would be worth about £1 : 17 : 6.
63:1 Exod. xxxiv. 21.
63:2 Lev. xxiii. 10. The omer or "wave sheaf" at the Passover, and the two wave loaves, at Pentecost, were to be made from grain grown in the field during the Sabbatical year. It was also allowed to till sufficient land to pay taxes.
63:3 Lev. xix. 23-25.