Kilayim, Chapter Four, Mishnah Nine



This mishnah deals with a person who intentionally leaves large gaps between the rows of vines in his vineyard so that he can plant seed in the spaces in between.


Mishnah Nine

1)      One who plants his vineyard sixteen cubits, sixteen cubits [separating each row], he may bring seed there.  

2)      Rabbi Judah said: It happened at Tsalmon that a man planted his vineyard on [a plan of] sixteen cubits, sixteen cubits [separating each row].  [One year] he would turn the tips of the vine branches of two [adjacent rows] towards one place, and sow the furrow [in between], and the following year he would turn the tips of the vine branches in the opposite direction, and sow the land which had been left untilled [the preceding year].

a)      The matter came before the sages, and they declared it permitted.

3)      Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon say: even one who has planted his vineyard with eight cubits [between every two rows], this is permitted.



Section one:  As we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, if a person leaves a gap of sixteen cubits between the rows of vines in his vineyard, he can plant seeds in between. All he will have to do is leave a space of six handbreadths to work the vines and then he can plant.

Section two:  Rabbi Judah brings a case of a person who set up his vineyard with sixteen cubits in between each row.  One year he turned the tips of his vines in one direction so that they wouldn’t be over the seeds that he wished to plant in between. Then he planted in the furrow in between these two rows.  The following year he turned the tips in the opposite direction so that a different empty space would be uncovered and he could plant there.  This method had the added advantage of leaving one side fallow every year.  The rabbis allowed this because in each year there was a true gap of sixteen cubits between each vine.

Section three:  Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon are more lenient when it comes to how large the gap in between the rows must be. They hold that it need only be eight cubits, even if there are three or more rows. This is the same distance we learned about in yesterday’s mishnah if there were only two rows.