Bava Batra, Chapter Two, Mishnah Nine



Mishnah nine deals with distancing foul-smelling things from a town.


Mishnah Nine

1)                     Animal carcasses, graves and tanneries must be distanced fifty cubits from a town.

a)                                           A tannery may be set up only to the east of a town.

b)                                          Rabbi Akiva says:  “It may be set up on any side save the west, and it must be distanced fifty cubits [from the town].



The three things listed in section one, animal carcasses, graves and tanneries will potentially give off foul smells.  Therefore one had to make sure these things were kept at least fifty cubits from the town.  Furthermore, since a tannery smells so bad, it may only be set up to the east of the town.  Since easterly winds were not common in the Land of Israel, the tannery needed to be kept to the east so its smell would not be blown into the town.  Rabbi Akiva said that the tannery could also be to the north or south of the town, just not to the west.



Questions for Further Thought:

·                      What is the relationship of Rabbi Akiva’s opinion to the anonymous opinion?  Upon what does he agree and upon what does he agree?