Kilayim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with a person who has sown his field with onions and now wishes to plant some gourds there as well.

 

Mishnah Six

His field was sown with onions, and he wishes to plant in it rows of gourds:

1)      Rabbi Ishmael says: he pulls up two rows [of onions] and plants [in the cleared space] one row [of gourds], then he leaves onions over a space of two rows, pulls up two rows [of onions] and plants [in the cleared space] one row [of gourds, and so on].   

2)      Rabbi Akiva says: he pulls up two rows [of onions], plants [in the cleared space] two rows [of gourds], then he leaves onions over a space of two rows, pulls up two rows [of onions], and plants two rows [of gourds; and so on].  

3)      The sages say: if between one row [of gourds] and the next there are not twelve cubits, one may not allow that which is sown in the intervening space to remain.

 

Explanation

Section one:  The first thing he does is uproot two rows of onions. Each row is four cubits wide, which means he now has an empty space of eight cubits (about four meters).  He then can plant in the middle of this space a row of gourds, leaving two clear cubits on each side to separate them from the onions. He then may keep the next two rows of onions because they are separated from the gourds.  Then he pulls up another two rows of onions and again plants within them one row of gourds. In this way there are twelve cubits between each row of gourds.  This procedure continues as long as he wants.  Rabbi Ishmael holds that since gourds have long leaves, if they are not significantly separated it will look like a field of gourds that has onions (or any other species of vegetable) mixed in.

Section two:  Rabbi Akiva is more lenient than Rabbi Ishmael and allows him to simply uproot two rows of onions and plant two rows of courts. There is no need for the gourds to be two cubits away from the onions.  According to Rabbi Akiva, the gourds will end up being only eight cubits apart.

Section three:  The sages partially agree with Rabbi Ishmael and partially with Rabbi Akiva. They agree with Rabbi Ishmael that the gourds must be twelve cubits apart.  However they don’t agree that there must be two cubits separating the gourds from the onions. Therefore, what he may do is uproot two rows of onions and plant two rows of gourds, then leave three rows of onions, then uproot two rows of onions and plant two rows of gourds.  In this way there are twelve cubits between the gourds (=three rows of onions) but there is no clear space separating the rows of gourds from the rows of onions.      

 

 

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