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Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. When a vine is bent, and the tops of its branches set in the ground [to propagate], it is not lawful to sow therein, [even beyond the legal distance], unless the bent tops are covered with mould three hands high. [Such is also the law] should the vine have been drawn through a dry gourd or a tube; but if it be drawn over rock or stone it is lawful to sow thereon, although the soil with which it is covered be no higher than three finger breadths. If a vine has been bent in such a manner that the main stem is out of sight [under ground] the measure, [as to legal distance], must be calculated from the second stem; i.e. the place where it rises from the ground and again becomes visible.

§ 2. If three vines are bent, [and partly covered with mould], should their stems remain visible, R. Eleazar ben Zadock saith, "If

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there remain between them not less than four, nor exceeding five amoth in width, they [the vines] must be looked upon as connected; otherwise, they are not so to be considered." It is likewise prohibited to sow near a withered vine: should this, however, have been done, it will not consecrate [the produce]. R. Meir saith, "It is, in like manner, prohibited to set a cotton plant in a vineyard; nevertheless, if it has been done, it will not consecrate the produce [of the vineyard]." R. Eleazar ben Zadock saith, in R. Meir's name, "it is equally prohibited to set it [the cotton-plant] over a covered vine; but if this has been done it will not have the effect of consecrating [the vine]."

§ 3. In the following places it is prohibited to sow, but if, nevertheless, this has been done, it will not consecrate the proceeds of the seed: these places are, the remainder of an incomplete plot of ground in the vineyard, [which does not contain the space required by law]; the remainder of an incomplete exterior space in the vineyard, [which is beyond the legal distance]; the remainder of an incomplete space between parts of an espalier of vines; and the remainder of an overhanging trellis; but whatsoever is sown under the branches of the vine, in the space legally required for its cultivation, or within the four amoth of the vineyard, becomes consecrated, [and the produce unlawful].

§ 4. If a man train his own vine over his neighbour's corn, it will thereby become consecrated, and he is bound to make good to his neighbour the damage he thus has caused him; but R. Joseph and R. Simeon say, "No man can legally consecrate that which is not his own, [does not belong to him]."

§ 5. R. José saith, "It once happened that a man had sown his vineyard during the seventh [sabbatical] year. 1 The case came before R. Akivah, who said, 'No man can legally consecrate that which does not belong to him.'"

§ 6. If a person has forcibly possessed himself of a vineyard, sown in it, and then left it, the rightful owner, on recovering possession, must have it cut down [immediately], even if on the middle days of the festival. To what extent is he [the owner] bound to go in respect to the hire of labourers, [in case they refuse to work during the middle days at the usual rate of wages]? To the extent of

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one-third 2 [beyond the usual rate]. Should the labourers exact more, the owner is not bound to comply with their demand; but may have it cut in the usual way, after the festival. From what period is the vineyard called that of the forcible [wrongful] possessor? When the name of the right owner is forgotten. 3

§ 7. Vine branches which by a high wind have been cast among corn, [and have taken root], must immediately be cut down; but if, owing to accidental circumstances, the owner has not done so, the vine and the corn are allowed to be used. If corn or pot-herbs incline towards a vine, they must be put back, but, [if this is not done], it will not consecrate the produce. From what time does grain [planted near a vine] become consecrated? From the time it strikes root; and the grapes from the time they reach the size of a white bean. If grain is completely dry [if it be cut down] when a vine is planted near it, or if the grapes are fully ripe [when corn is sown], it does not cause either to be consecrated.

§ 3. When, near vines, any thing is sown in a pot with holes, it causes consecration; but, if sown in a pot without holes, it does not. R. Simeon saith, "Both are, indeed, prohibited, yet if it has been done, it does not consecrate the produce of the vine." Should a pot, with any thing sown in it, be carried through a vineyard, [and some of the contents have dropped out, and taken root], it [the fruit of the vineyard] is prohibited as soon as the seed is grown a two-hundredth part.


27:1 Because, during the sabbatical year, the spontaneous, as well as all other fruits, both of field and vineyard, do not belong to the owner of the soil, but become public property, given to the poor.

28:2 Or, according to another opinion, one-third part of the whole property.

28:3 Such is the explanation of the Talmud and Jarchi on this most obscure and difficult passage, but which explanation seems altogether incongruous. It appears that, during the Roman supremacy in Judea, it was common for the sub-officers and chiefs of the legions to seize on vineyards and lands, which they caused to be cultivated for their own use, and held possession of, until the legions they belonged to were quartered elsewhere. It is to such a forcible detention that the text seems to allude; and it uses the word ‏משישקע‎ as long as he maintained possession, in which the right owner was unable or afraid to disturb him.

The question of the Mishna seems to be, What term of possession by the ‏אנס‎ [forcible intruder] absolves the rightful owner from the responsibility, or exempts him from the penalty of kilaim? And the answer is, As long as that intruder maintains possession, be the period short or long. Such, at least, appears the plain and rational explication of the text, which is very obscure.

Next: Chapter VIII