Oktzim, Chapter Three, Mishnah Ten



Today’s mishnah deals with the halakhic status of a bee-hive. Specifically, the sages debate whether it is considered to have the status of land because it is attached to the land.


Mishnah Ten

1)      A bee-hive: Rabbi Eliezer says: it is treated as if it were land;

a)      and one can write a prozbul on it security,

b)      it is also not susceptible to uncleanness as long as it remains in its own place,

c)      and the one who scrapes honey from it on Shabbat is liable to a sin-offering.

2)      But the sages say: it is not to be treated as if it were land,

a)      and one many not write a prozbul on its security;

b)      it is susceptible even if it remains in its own place;

c)      and the one who scrapes honey from it on Shabbat is exempt [from a sin-offering].



Section one: According to Rabbi Eliezer, the beehive has the status of land. The mishnah lists three consequences to this determination.

a) If the debtor owns a beehive, a prozbul may be written using just the beehive as security, even though he owns no actual land. This is a topic that we covered in yesterday’s mishnah. A prozbul was a document written by the creditor to avoid loan remission in the Sabbatical year (see chapter 10 of Tractate Sheviit). In order to write a prozbul one must own land (see Sheviit 10:6-7).  

b) Land and anything that is considered attached to it (such as plants or houses) is not susceptible to impurity. Thus, according to Rabbi Eliezer, the beehive cannot become impure. However, this is only true while it remains in its place. If the beehive was picked up and moved elsewhere, it can become susceptible to impurity.

c) One who plucks something from the land is liable for having transgressed Shabbat. Hence, according to Rabbi Eliezer, one who removes honey from a beehive on Shabbat is liable.

Section two: The rabbis do not consider the beehive to be “land” and therefore, in all three of these halakhot, they rule opposite of Rabbi Eliezer.