Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the Bavli, Shabas 7, amud 1, Rashi twice uses the word "בטל" in contexts where I don't understand its meaning. I wonder whether anyone can help.

The first time is:

ברשות הרבים כי האי גוונא מקום פטור הוא ובטל ומותר לרשות הרבים ולרשות היחיד

In a public thoroughfare, such a thing [viz, something less than four tefach wide] is a m'kom p'tur (place of exemption), and it is בטל and permitted to the public thoroughfare and to the private property.

The second is the hypothesis

דאין רה״י שולטת בחצר באויר למעלה מי׳ אלא מקום פטור הוא ובטל אף לגבי רה״ר

that private property doesn't control, in a yard, the air above ten tefach: rather, it's a m'kom p'tur and בטל even vis à vis the public thoroughfare.

What is this בטל? What sort of being nullified or canceled (I guess, since those are its usual meanings) is this? What does בטל mean here?

share|improve this question

The best translation in the context here is:

A)...and is nullified (loses its identity) with respect to a public domain or a private domain, and so transfer between the public or private domain is permitted.

B)...and is nullified even with respect to a public domain.

share|improve this answer
What does it mean, though? What does it mean to say the space "is nullified (loses its identity)"? – msh210 Dec 3 '13 at 19:09
@msh210 the way that a 'makom petur' works is by being nullified to whatever area that it is/you are in – Matt Aug 24 '14 at 21:59

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.