Shabbat, Chapter Eleven, Mishnah Six



This mishnah teaches and illustrates the rule that in order for a person to be liable to bring a sin-offering, the entire forbidden act must be performed unwittingly.  If part of the act is performed intentionally, then no sin-offering is brought.


Mishnah Six

1)      If one throws [something] and remembers [that it is Shabbat] after it leaves his hand, and another catches it, or a dog catches it or it is burnt, he is not liable.  

2)      If one throws [something] in order to inflict a wound whether to a person or a beast, and he remembers [that it is Shabbat] before the wound is inflicted he is not liable.

3)      This is the general principle: all who are liable to sin-offerings are liable only if the beginning and the end [of the forbidden action] are unwitting.

a)      If their beginning is unwitting while their end is intentional, if their beginning is intentional while their end is unwitting, they are not liable, unless their beginning and end are intentional.



Section one:  If someone throws something not remembering that it is the Sabbath and then, while the object is still in the air, she remembers that it is the Sabbath, it turns out that in the beginning of her forbidden activity she was an unintentional sinner and at the end she was already an intentional sinner.  She is not liable, for as we learn later in the mishnah, in order for one to be liable to bring a sin-offering the entire action from beginning to end must be performed unwittingly. 

This section also includes several other cases where someone throws something and she is nevertheless exempt.  If the object is caught by a dog or by another person or is burnt up before it lands, it turns out that she uprooted the object but she didn’t cause it to be put down.  Therefore, she is exempt.  Note, that this does not mean that one is allowed to throw things to one’s fellow in the public domain or from one domain to the other.  Rather, one who does so is not liable.

Section two:  Putting a wound into somebody is a derivative of one of the forbidden labors on Shabbat.  In this case the person throws something at another person or at an animal while not knowing that it is Shabbat but remembers before the thrown object wounds the other person or animal.  Similar to above, the beginning of the act was performed unwittingly and at the end the act was intentional.  Hence the thrower is exempt. 

Section three:  This section states explicitly the general rule that stood behind the previous two sections.