There, the baraita that prohibits returning the object, is referring to bringing it to a different courtyard, as Rava raised a dilemma before Rav Naḥman: One who was standing in a courtyard on Shabbat, and his hand was filled with fruits, and he extended it outside into the public domain, what is the ruling with regard to whether or not he is allowed to bring it back into the same courtyard where he is standing? Rav Naḥman said to him: It is permitted. And he asked him further: What is the ruling with regard to bringing it from the public domain to a different courtyard? He said to him: It is prohibited.
ומאי שנא לכי תיכול עלה כורא דמילחא התם לא איתעבידא מחשבתו הכא איתעבידא מחשבתו:
Rava asked about this: And in what way is one case different from the other? By definition, both courtyards are private domains, and there is no apparent halakhic difference between them in terms of Shabbat. Rav Naḥman answered jokingly: When you eat a kor of salt while thinking it over, you will know the answer. Actually, the answer is simple: There, the baraita that taught that it is permitted to bring it back to the same courtyard, said so because his planned objective was not realized. Since he sought to take an object out of his courtyard, requiring him to bring the object back to its original place is a penalty of sorts. However, here, the baraita that taught that it is prohibited to bring it back to a different courtyard, said so because his planned objective was realized. Therefore, it is prohibited to bring it back there.
גופא בעי רב ביבי בר אביי הדביק פת בתנור התירו לו לרדותה קודם שיבוא לידי חיוב חטאת או לא התירו
Since Rav Beivai bar Abaye’s dilemma was mentioned in passing, the Gemara proceeds to discuss the matter itself. Rav Beivai bar Abaye raised a dilemma: One who erred and stuck bread in the oven on Shabbat, did they permit him to override a rabbinic prohibition and remove it before it bakes, i. e., before he incurs liability to bring a sin-offering for baking bread on Shabbat, or did they not permit him to do so?
Rav Aḥa bar Abaye said to Ravina: What are the circumstances? If you say that he stuck the bread to the oven unwittingly and did not remember either that today was Shabbat or that it is prohibited to do so on Shabbat, to whom did they permit to remove it? If he remains unaware that a prohibition is involved, it will not occur to him to ask whether or not he is permitted to remove the bread before it bakes.
ואלא לאו דאיהדר ואידכר מי מחייב והתנן כל חייבי חטאות אינן חייבין עד שתהא תחלתן שגגה וסופן שגגה
But rather, is it not a case where he then, before it baked, remembered that it is prohibited? In that case, is he liable to bring a sin-offering? Didn’t we learn in a mishna: All those who sin unwittingly and are therefore liable to bring sin-offerings are only liable if the beginning of their action was unwitting and the end of their action was unwitting. This means that throughout the entire action until its completion, the person remains unaware that his action is prohibited. Consequently, in our case, since he became aware that his action is prohibited while the bread was still baking, his very awareness exempts him from a sin-offering and removing the bread is no longer necessary to prevent him from incurring liability to bring a sin-offering.
אלא במזיד קודם שיבא לידי איסור סקילה מיבעי ליה
Rather, say that that person stuck the bread in the oven intentionally, but afterward regrets having done so and does not want to violate the prohibition. However, if that is the case, the formulation of the dilemma is inaccurate. It should have said: Before he comes to violate a prohibition punishable by stoning. One who desecrates Shabbat intentionally is liable to be stoned, he is not merely liable to bring a sin-offering.
אמר רב שילא לעולם בשוגג ולמאן התירו לאחרים
Rav Sheila said: Actually, it is referring to a case where he did so unwittingly, and the dilemma whether or not they permitted removing the bread is not with regard to the person who stuck it in the oven, as he remains unaware of his transgression. Rather, with regard to whom is Rav Beivai raising a dilemma whether or not the Sages permitted him to remove the bread? It is with regard to others who wish to spare the unwitting sinner from violating a Torah prohibition.
מתקיף לה רב ששת וכי אומרים לו לאדם חטא כדי שיזכה חבירך
Rav Sheshet strongly objected to this. And does one tell another person: Sin so that another will benefit? Permitting one to violate a prohibition, even one prohibited by rabbinic law, in order to help another perform a mitzva is inconceivable. The same is true with regard to preventing another from violating a more severe prohibition.
Rather, Rav Ashi said: Actually, it is referring to a case where he stuck the bread in the oven intentionally. And say, emend the text as follows: Before he comes to violate a prohibition punishable by stoning. Indeed, Rav Aḥa, son of Rava, would teach it explicitly in that manner; not as a dilemma, but rather, as a halakhic ruling. According to his version, Rav Beivai bar Abaye said: With regard to one who stuck bread in an oven on Shabbat eve, the Sages permitted him to remove it from the oven on Shabbat before he comes to violate a prohibition punishable by stoning.
פשט העני את ידו: אמאי חייב והא בעינן עקירה והנחה מעל גבי מקום ארבעה על ארבעה וליכא
We learned in the mishna several examples where the poor person extended his hand: One, when he placed an object into the hand of the homeowner and one, when he took an object from the hand of the homeowner. In those cases, we learned that he is liable to bring a sin-offering. The Gemara asks: Why is he liable? Don’t we require that halakhic lifting and placing be performed from and onto the surface of an area that is four by four handbreadths? A smaller area is not considered a defined place, and it is as if the object were not there at all; and a person’s hand is not that size. Why, then, is he liable?
Rabba said: Whose opinion is it in this mishna? It is the opinion of Rabbi Akiva who said that we do not require a place of four by four handbreadths. According to his opinion, even a smaller area is considered a significant place in terms of carrying out on Shabbat. As we learned in a mishna: One who throws an object from the private domain to the other private domain and there is the public domain in the middle, Rabbi Akiva deems him liable for carrying out into the public domain, and the Rabbis deem him exempt because the object merely passed through the public domain and did not come to rest in it.
This dispute can be explained as follows: Rabbi Akiva holds that we say that an object in airspace is considered at rest. In his opinion, an object that passed, even briefly, through the airspace of the public domain is considered as if it came to rest in that domain. Therefore, one who threw the object has, for all intents and purposes, lifted the object from the private domain and placed it in the public domain, and he is liable. And the Rabbis hold that we do not say that an object in airspace is considered at rest. In their opinion, although he lifted the object from the private domain, it never came to rest in the public domain. Since he never placed it in the public domain, he is not liable. Regardless, according to Rabbi Akiva’s opinion, placing does not require a defined area. The mere presence of an object in the public domain accords it the legal status of having been placed there. Apparently, there is no requirement that an object be placed on a surface with an area of four by four handbreadths.
למימרא דפשיטא ליה לרבה דבקלוטה כמי שהונחה דמיא
Initially, the Gemara wonders about the substance of Rabba’s opinion: Is that to say that it is obvious to Rabba that, with regard to whether or not an object in airspace is considered at rest,