I know of one teshuva (Maharam of Rothenburg, Prague Edition, 4:536), that deals with the practical implications of one's halakhically guaranteed four cubits in the Land of Israel. Does anyone know of other sources?

2 Answers 2


A source for this concept is in Tosfos (Baba Basra 44b), who quotes such an opinion but disagrees.

דלא הוה ליה ארעא מעולם. מכאן תשובה לאומרים דמה שנהגו לכתוב בהרשאות ונתתי לו ארבע אמות בחצרי אע"ג דלית ליה קרקע משום דאין לך אדם שאין לו ארבע אמות בארץ ישראל דקרקע אינה נגזלת אי נמי דאין לך אדם שאין לו ד' אמות לקברו דהכא משמע דאפשר שאין לו קרקע וכן משמע בפ' שלישי דקדושין (דף ס: ע"ש) הרי את מקודשת לי על מנת שיש לי קרקע משמע דאפשר שאין לו ודוחק להעמיד בגר שאין לו חלק בארץ ועוד דא"כ לא יעשה אדם שני שטרי הקנאה שהראשון קנה ארבע אמותיו

Relevant summary: The Gemara (BB 44b) discusses 'one who has no land'. Tosfos infers from here that not every person is guaranteed to have a portion of land. He quotes 'those who say' that every Jew has at least 4x4 cubits in Israel (for land cannot be stolen halachically), but disagrees with them in light of the Gemara.


I forget the source, but I remember an application while I learned about hilchos pruzbol. During the shmita year, there's an obligation to forgive any loans which are held personally. One way of circumventing it is by writing a pruzbol, which enables beis din (a jewish rabbinic court) to assume a certain level of responsibility of your debts which enables you to collect. (I way oversimplified here, see gitten daf 32 and the sources sited there for more about prozbol.)

One condition for prozbol is that you have to own land. Some poskim say that if a person doesn't actually own their own property- they just rent an apartment etc.- they can rely on their "Daled amos in israel" for the sake of the prozbol.

  • Is the necessity to own either real property or its substitute, the "four amot in EI," intended to mean that you're effectively mortgaging it to the BD during the period of the pruzbol?
    – Joshua
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 18:09

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