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?

1 Answer 1


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.

  • What does it mean, though? What does it mean to say the space "is nullified (loses its identity)"?
    – msh210
    Dec 3, 2013 at 19:09
  • @msh210 the way that a 'makom petur' works is by being nullified to whatever area that it is/you are in Aug 24, 2014 at 21:59

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