Bava Batra, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two
Mishnah two deals with placing an oven or other cooking device in a house in a fashion that will not cause damage to the house.
1) One may not set up an oven inside a house unless there is a space of four cubits above it.
a) If he sets it up in the upper room, the flooring beneath it must be three handbreadths deep, or for a stove one handbreadth.
2) And if it causes damage [to the floor] he must pay for the damage caused.
a) Rabbi Shimon says: They only mentioned these measurements so that if the object caused damage he would be exempt.
Section one sets up specifications for placing an oven or a stove inside a house, either on the first floor or on the second floor (the upper room). Note that a stove causes less heat than an oven.
Section two contains a dispute between the anonymous opinion and Rabbi Shimon with regards to the ramifications of the distances mentioned in this and the previous mishnah. According to the first opinion, while a person must observe these restrictions, even if he does so he will still be obligated to make restitution if his property damages someone elses property. According to Rabbi Shimon, if one follows the restrictions, and properly distances his potentially damaging property from another persons property, he will be exempt if it causes damage.
Questions for Further Thought:
· According to the anonymous opinion is section 2, even if a person properly distances his damaging things from anothers property he will still be obligated for subsequent damages. Why then does the mishnah mention how far these mentioned things must be distanced?