The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
1. In olden times they used to say a man may gather wood, stones, and grass in his own (field), just as he may gather that which is greater out of his neighbour's field. When transgressors increased, a rule was made that this one should gather from that one, and that one from this one, without benefit; and it is unnecessary to say that one could not promise victuals to those who gathered.
2. A field cleared of thorns may be sown in the close of the Sabbatical year. If it be tilled or manured by cattle, it must not be sown in the close of the Sabbatical year. "If a field be twice ploughed?" 1 The school of Shammai say, "its fruit must not be eaten in the Sabbatical year." But the school of Hillel say, "it may be eaten." The school of Shammai say, "they must not eat its fruit on the Sabbatical year, if (the owner of it have) benefit therefrom." But the school of Hillel say, "men may eat it whether there be
or be not benefit." R. Judah said, "the words are contrary; that which is permitted by the school of Shammai is restricted by the school of Hillel."
3. Men may contract for cultivated fields from Gentiles on the Sabbatical year, but not from Israelites. And they may strengthen the hands of the Gentiles on the Sabbatical year, but not the hands of Israelites. And in saluting Gentiles they may ask after their peace for the sake of peace. 1
4. "If one thins olive trees?" The school of Shammai say, "only cut them down," and the school of Hillel say, "one may root them out;" but they both agree that for smoothing the earth the trees must be cut down. "What is meant by thinning?" "Removing one or two." "What is meant by smoothing the earth?" "Removing three trees each by the side of the other." "How is this understood?" "That one may root them out not only of his own field, but also when smoothing down the field of his neighbour."
5. "He who cleaves olive trees must not fill in the vacuum with earth; but he may cover it over with stones or stubble. He who cuts down trunks of sycamore must not fill in the vacuum with earth, but he may cover it over with stones or stubble. Men must not cut down a young sycamore in the Sabbatical year, because that is labour." R. Judah said, "if as it is usually done it is forbidden: but one may allow it to be ten handbreadths high, or cut it just above the ground." "He who lops off vine tendrils, and cuts reeds?" R. José the Galilean said, "he must leave them an handbreadth high." Rabbi Akiba said, "he may cut them as it is usual with an axe, or sickle, or saw, or with whatever he pleases." "A tree that is split?" "Men may bind it round in the Sabbatical year, not that it may cohere, but that its fissure may not extend."
7. "From what time may the fruits of trees in the Sabbatical year be eaten?" "Unripe fruits, when they are becoming transparent, may be eaten with a piece of bread in the field. When they are mellow, they may be gathered
into the house; and so also with all like them." During the remainder of the seven years their tithes must be paid.
8. The sour grapes in which there is juice may be eaten with a piece of bread in the field. Before they rot they may be gathered into the house, and so also with all like them. During the remainder of the seven years their tithes must be paid.
9. "Olives from which men have collected the fourth of a log 1 of oil to the seah?" 2 "They maybe crushed and eaten in the field." When men can collect from them half a log, they may be pounded and used for anointing in the field. When those have been collected which have attained a third of their size they may be pounded in the field, and gathered into the house, and so also with all like them. During the remainder of the seven years their tithes must be paid. But for the rest of all fruits of trees, as are their seasons for the laws of tithes, so are their seasons for the laws of the Sabbatical year.
10. "From what time may men not cut trees in the Sabbatical year?" The school of Shammai say, "every tree when it shoots forth." The school of Hillel say, "the locust trees when they put forth their curling tendrils, and the vines when they form berries, and the olives when they flower. And the rest of the trees when they shoot forth." But it is permitted to cut all trees, when they come to the season, for tithes. "How much fruit should be in the olive tree to prevent its being cut down?" "A quarter cab." Rabban Gamaliel said, "the whole depends on the size."
68:1 Twice ploughed implies the payment of tribute when the land was under foreign rule. Its cultivation was allowed for this purpose during the Sabbatical year. So long as a foe could be resisted, it was not cultivated (1 Mac. vi. 49).
69:1 Jer. xxix. 7.
70:1 A log held the contents of six eggshells.
70:2 A seah held about the third of a bushel.