Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 2a
C H A P T E R I MISHNAH. THE CARRYINGS OUT
OF THE SABBATH
ARE TWO WHICH ARE FOURWITHIN, AND TWO WHICH ARE FOUR WITHOUT.
HOW SO? THE POOR MAN STANDSWITHOUT AND THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE WITHIN: [i] IF THE POOR MANSTRETCHES HIS HAND WITHIN AND PLACES [AN ARTICLE] INTO THE HAND OF THEMASTER OF THE HOUSE, OR [ii] IF HE TAKES [AN ARTICLE] FROM IT AND CARRIES ITOUT, THE POOR MAN IS LIABLE,
AND THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE IS EXEMPT.
[AGAIN] [i] IF THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE STRETCHES HIS HAND WITHOUT ANDPLACES [AN OBJECT] IN THE POOR MAN'S HAND, OR [ii] TAKES [AN OBJECT]THEREFROM AND CARRIES IT IN, THE MASTER IS LIABLE, WHILE THE POOR MAN ISEXEMPT.
[iii] IF THE POOR MAN STRETCHES HIS HAND WITHIN AND THE MASTERTAKES [AN OBJECT] FROM IT, OR PLACES [AN OBJECT] THEREIN AND HE CARRIES ITOUT, BOTH ARE EXEMPT; [iv] IF THE MASTER STRETCHES HIS HAND WITHOUT ANDTHE POOR MAN TAKES [AN OBJECT] FROM IT, OR PLACES [AN ARTICLE] THEREINAND HE CARRIES IT INSIDE, BOTH ARE EXEMPT.
GEMARA, We learnt elsewhere:
[False] oaths are two which are four:
i.e., the acts of transporting objects from private to public ground or vice versa, which are forbidden on the Sabbath,Tosaf. observes that the phraseology, ‘outgoings,
instead of the more usual ‘carryings out’
is basedon Ex. XVI, 29: let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
I.e., by Biblical law two acts of carrying out are interdicted to the person standing in a private domain (‘within’) andtwo to the person standing in public ground (‘without’); to each two the Rabbis added another two, thus making ‘TWOWHICH ARE FOUR.’ Tosaf. is much exercised with the question why this is taught at the beginning of the Tractate,instead of in the seventh chapter, where all the principal forbidden acts of the Sabbath, including this, are enumerated,and offers various answers. L. Blau in MGWJ.,1934 (Festschrift), P. 124f maintains that this was originally part of theMishnah of Shebu. I, 1, which is quoted at the beginning of the Gemara (infra), where a number of subjects, having noinner connection, are grouped together by the catch phrase ‘two which are four.’ As an aid to the memory each subjectwas then put at the head of the Tractate to which it refers.
For desecrating the Sabbath.
Because the poor man performs the two acts which together constitute ‘carrying out’ in the Biblical sense, viz., heremoves an object from one domain and replaces it in another. (When he withdraws the object into the street, holding itin his hand, he is regarded as having deposited it in the street.) The master, on the other hand, is quite passive,performing no action at all.
In both cases here the master performs the two acts, the poor man being passive. Thus there are two Biblicallyforbidden acts for each.-’Liable’ means to a sin-offering, if the acts are committed unwittingly, or to death (in theory,hardly in practice) if committed knowingly, and can apply here only to a Biblical interdict.
In iii and iv each performs one act only, either removing from one domain or depositing in another. This isRabbinically forbidden, and involves no liability. (When the master places an object into the poor man's outstretchedhand, which is already in the house, he, and not the poor man, is regarded as having removed it from the privatedomain.)
Shebu. I, 1.
In Lev. V, 4-7 (q.v.) a variable sacrifice (vv. 6-7) is imposed for taking a false oath (v. 4 is so explained). ‘To do evil,or to do good,’ is interpreted as meaning that one swears, ‘I will eat,’ or ‘I will not eat,’ which are the two referred to,viz., a positive or a negative oath relating to the future. These are further increased to four by including similar oathsrelating to the past: ‘I ate’, or ‘I did not eat.’
Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 2b