Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. If foes, or an evil spirit [a fit of insanity], have caused a man to go out [beyond the Sabbath-limit], he must not [when recovering his own free agency] move further than four amoth; if they [the foes or the fit] have carried him back, it is as if he had not gone out [beyond the limit]. If they have carried him into another town, or put him into a pen [prison] or fold [for cattle], he may, according to Rabbon Gamaliel, and R. Eleazar ben Azariah, "go about throughout its whole [extent];" but R. Joshua and R. Akivah maintain, "that he must not move further than four amoth." It once happened
that they [these four sages] came together from Parendisim, 1 and their vessel kept the sea [on the Sabbath]: Rabbon Gamaliel and R. Eleazar ben Azariah walked about throughout the whole [extent of the vessel]; but R. Joshua and R. Akivah did not move beyond four amoth, as they wished [to take] the rigid [observance] upon themselves.
§ 2. Once [on the Sabbath-eve] they [the sages, being on board a vessel] did not enter the haven [landing-place] till after dark; they inquired of Rabbon Gamaliel, "What are we [to do as] to descending [from the vessel]?" He answered them, "It is permitted; for I observed that we had already entered [within] the limits [of the Sabbath distance] before dusk."
§ 3. He who is authorised to go out [beyond the legal distance] on business of importance to public or private welfare [or safety], and is told "the thing is already done," has [the liberty to go] 2000 amoth in any direction. If he still was within the Techoom [the lawful Sabbath distance], it is as if he had not gone forth at all; for all those who go forth to save are . [permitted to] return to their abodes [on the day of rest].
§ 4. If a man sits down by the road-side [towards dusk on the Sabbath-eve], and then gets up and sees that he is near a town, as it had not been his intention to enter the town, he must not enter. 2 Such is the dictum of R. Meir; but R. Jehudah saith he may enter. 3 R. Jehudah said, "It once happened that R. Tarphon entered [a town], although [it had] not [been] his intention [so to do]."
§ 5. He who falls asleep on the road [the eve of the day of rest], and knows not that it is become dark [night has set in] has [when he awakes], the right of going 2000 amoth in any direction. Such is the dictum of R. Eleazar ben Nourie; but the sages hold, that he has [only the right to move] four amoth. R. Eleazar saith, "and he is in [forms] the centre 4 [of these four amoth]." R. Jehudah saith, "He can go [four] amoth in whichever direction he pleases;" but R. Jehudah admitted, "that if he [such a person] has
made his choice, he cannot [afterwards] go back therefrom [recall or alter it]."
§ 6: If there be two [persons so situated], and part of the four amoth [permitted] to each are within the limits of the other, 5 they may meet and take their meal together, in the middle [of their joint space]; provided always, that neither of them exceed his own limits by going into those of his neighbour. If there are three persons [so situated], and [part of the four amoth belonging to] the middle one is swallowed by [forms part of the limits belonging to] the others, [each of the two outside ones], 6 he is at liberty to meet each of them, and each of them may meet him; but the two outside ones are not permitted to meet each other. R. Simeon saith, "What is this like? Three courts opening into each other, and also open towards the public reshuth; if the two outer ones have joined in crab with the middle one, they are at liberty [to carry and convey from the middle court] to each of the outer ones, and from them into it; but the two outer ones must not [carry and convey] from one to the other."
§ 7. If a man be on the road, and is overtaken by the dusk [on the eve of the day of rest], should he distinguish [single out] a tree or hedge, and say, "Under it [I will take] my Sabbath rest," it is [in law] as if he had said nothing; 7 [but should he say], "At its basis [I will take] my Sabbath rest," he may go from the spot on which he stands to the base [of the tree or hedge], 2000 amoth, and from the base unto his domicile 2000 amoth [more]; thus it is found that, after dark, he may go 4000 amoth.
§ 8. If he cannot distinguish [single out a tree or a hedge], or should he not be conversant with the halachah [decisions of the oral law], if he says, "[I will take] my Sabbath-rest on the spot [where I stand]," the spot [which he occupies] obtains for him 2000 amoth in any direction; in a circle, according to the dictum of R. Haninah ben Antigonus: but the sages hold [that he has 2000 amoth] square, so that he gains the angles.
§ 9. This [rule above laid down] is the explication of their [the sages’] saying, "The poor prepares his erub with his foot." R. Meir saith, "This rule [then] we apply only to the poor;" but R. Jehudah replied, "To the poor and to the rich [alike], inasmuch as the erub with bread was only decreed, to make the observance more easy for
the wealthy, so that he should not be forced to go out on his own feet to prepare the erub.
§ 10. If a man [on the eve of the day of rest] has been dispatched by his townsmen, to combine by erub a town [or village in the vicinity], and has been induced to go back by a neighbour [before he has completed his errand], he is permitted to go [to the place in question]; but all his townsmen are forbidden [to go thither]. Such is the dictum of R. Jehudah; but R. Meir saith, "Whosoever can prepare the erub, but does not prepare it, is [like at once driving] an ass [and leading] a camel."
§ 11. Whoever is gone beyond the techoom, even [the distance of] a single amah, must not go back [the whole techoom]. R. Eleazar saith, "[If he has gone] two amoth [beyond the techoom] he may go back, but if three amoth, he must not go back." 8 R. Simeon saith, "Even [should he go] fifteen amoth [beyond the techoom] he may go back, as the land-surveyors [who fix the limits] are not very exact in their measurement, as they take into consideration those who might err." 9
79:1 This is supposed to be Brundusium, the usual place of embarkation for those who proceeded from Rome to Greece and the East.
79:2 That is, he must not proceed further than the legal distance of 2000 amoth into the town; so that he has not the same privilege as others who may traverse its whole extent.
79:3 And is entitled to partake of the privilege.
79:4 So that he has only two amoth to move in.
80:5 Supposing they are six amoth asunder.
80:6 Supposing the two outside ones are ten amoth asunder.
80:7 So that he must not move further than four amoth.
81:8 R. Eleazar is of opinion, that the man has four amoth beyond the techoom, of which four amoth he forms the centre, so that he may move two amoth.
81:9 According to Rashi, those who measured the ground did not measure from the end of the line, but from the end of their hand; so that the portion of the line they held in their hand was not included in the measurement, which was thus lessened by fifteen amoth. Others aver, that the legal distance was purposely shortened by fifteen amoth.