Audio by Dr. Michael Sokolow

פרק ב - משנה ט
הרוצה לעשות שדהו If one wants make in his field
קרחת קרחת מכל מין multiple patches of different species
עושה עשרים וארבע קרחות לבית סאה

he should create 24 patches per בית סאה [which is 2500 square אמות]

מקרחת לבית רובע each patch yielding a בית רובע [which is 1/24 of 2500 of a  בית סאה]
וזורע לתוכן כל מין שירצה and he may plant [in them] any species he wants
היתה קרחת אחת או שתיים if one or two patches
זורען חרדל are planted with mustard [that is permissible]
שלוש לא יזרעם חרדל [however, in] three [patches from the 24] he should not plant mustard
מפני שהיא נראית כשדה חרדל as it looks like a field of mustard
דברי רבי מאיר this is the opinion of R' Meir
וחכמים אומרים and the Sages say
תשע קרחות מותרות nine patches are permissible
ועשר אסורות but ten are forbidden
רבי אליעזר בן יעקוב אומר R' Eliezer ben Yaakov says
אפילו כל שדהו בית כור even if his entire field is a בית כור (which has an area of 75,000 square אמות)
לא יעשה בתוכה חוץ מקרחת אחת he can only make one square [of a separate species within that field]
   
פרק ב - משנה י
כל שהוא בתוך בית רובע Everything which is within a בית רובע
עולה במידת בית רובע counts towards the measure of [the area of] the בית רובע;
אוכלת הגפן the [land] consumed by a grapevine (i.e. the empty space left around a vine in order to maintain it),
והקבר והסלע the grave and the rock
עולין במידת בית רובע count towards the meansure of the בית רובע;
תבואה בתבואה בית רובע grains by grains [must be separated by] a בית רובע
וירק בירק שישה טפחים vegetables by vegetables [must be separated by] six טפחים
תבואה בירק וירק בתבואה בית רובע grains by vegetables and vegetables by grains [must be separated by] a בית רובע
רבי אליעזר אומר R' Eliezer says
ירק בתבואה שישה טפחים vegetables by grain [must be separated by] six טפחים
   

NOTES

משנה ט

מקרחת לבית רובע - The exact shape and size of the patches and the field they are is in  is a matter of some difficulty, as most believe that these patches are square, yet twenty four equally sized squares cannot be arranged to compose one larger square, which is the shape of a בית סאה according to most.  One solution is to take the position that while a בית סאה is usually described as 50 אמות to a side, it may take a more rectangular shape so long as its total area is 2500 square אמות.  Accordingly, each square would have sides of approximately 10.2  אמות, for an area of 104.04 square אמות per square, and twenty-four such squares would have a total area of approximately  2497 square אמות.  Another solution is to say that a קרחת is not not square; תוי"ט for example says that each square is 8אמות wide and 12 אמות long; the squares are arranged in 4 rows (4 x 12 = 50) by 6 columns (6 x  8⅓ = 50) to form a perfectly square בית סאה.  In any event, R' Meir holds than when a field is divided up in this manner, each sub-division can be planted with a different species without distancing them from each other, as the uniformity of the patches makes them look like 24 distinct fields. 

שלוש לא יזרעם חרדל - According to the רע"ב, mustard was ordinarily planted in smaller batches, and so one continuous batch of three בית רובע, though of insignificant size for other crops, would appear like an entire field's worth of mustard, and so such a formation would have the appearance of a field of mustard inside a field of other crops, which is not permitted.

תשע קרחות מותרות - According to the רמב"ם, each of these קרחות is a בית רובע and all are equally distance from their neighbors.  According to him, each בית רובע is a square with sides that are 10.2 אמות long (see figure 1 below in which these are colored blue), and in between each is a space of 9.7  אמות arranged to fill the בית סאה of 50 אמות by 50 אמות (fig. 1, colored white).  According to the רמב"ם, a tenth square could not be planted in this formation, as it would not be equidistant from its neighbors, and so according to the Sages it would be כלאים. 

 

Figure 1.

תשע קרחות לבית סאה אליבא דרמב"ם

 

 

←10.2→ ←9.7 ←10.2→ ←9.7→ ←10.2→  
         

10.2

         

9.7

         

10.2

         

9.7

         

10.2

 

תוי"ט asks on this רמב"ם why an additional four squares could not be added on diagonally (see figure 2; the grey squares are the ones that he would add), similar to the ראש תור of משנה ז, he speculates that the ראש תור is an exception that only applies to large fields abutting small crop beds or vice versa; however for small crop beds that abut small crop beds, as is the case here, that rule cannot be applied.

 

Figure 2.

הקרחות של קושית תוי"ט על הרמב"ם הן בצבע אפור

 

         
         
         
         
         

 

The ירושלמי presents another problem, as it says that the arrangement according to the חכמים is 3, 2, 1, 2 and 1, which the מהר"י בן מלכי צדק illustrates as shown by the blue squares in Figure 3.  While this avoids the issue of the ראש תור, it is difficult to understand why the grey colored squares in Figure 3 could not also be planted.

 

Figure 3.

הירושלמי על פי מהר"י בן מלכי צדק

 

         
         
         
         
         

 

משנה י

עולה במידת בית רובע - The משנה is addressing the spaces used to separate between different crops, and is saying that while some of parts of the terrain cannot be farmed, those parts still count towards the total area. 

תבואה בתבואה בית רובע - Here, a בית רובע is 10.5 אמות.  According to the רע"ב and others, this is a case where a small patch of one type of grain is to be planted within a large field of another type of grain.  According to these opinions, not only must the inner patch of grain have a space of a בית רוכע (which is 10.5 אמות) separating it from the rest of the filed, but it cannot be surrounded on all four sides either.  (See Fifure 4.) 

 

Figure 4.

תבואה בתבואה בית רובע

על פי רע"ב

שעורים

 

 

←10.5→

10.5

 

←10.5→

 

חיטים

 

The רמב"ם and תפארת ישראל however, interpret this completely differently.  According to them, our משנה is dealing with two large adjacent fields, and is saying that in order for them to abut each other, there must be a בית רובע, a square with sides of 10.5  אמות, somewhere in the border between them.  (Fig. 5)

 

Figure 5.

תבואה בתבואה בית רובע

על פי הרמב"ם ותפארת ישראל

חיטים

שעורים

 

בית רובע

 
   

 

 

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