13. Leveling the floor and the ground

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13. Leveling the floor and the ground:[1]

One who levels the floor of the house or of a courtyard, such as for example he leveled a mound or filled up a ditch or valley, then this is [considered] building and he is [Biblically] liable.

Leveling the ground of a courtyard unintentionally: Therefore, a courtyard that [its floor] became ruined[2] during the rainy season, one may bring hay and throw it [over the floor] being that the straw will not be nullified [to permanently stay] there, as it is fit to be animal fodder or [to be used] for cement, and therefore there is no building [prohibition involved in doing so].

However, one may not throw something there which will get nullified [to stay] there [permanently] because this appears like one is [doing so] intentionally to level the floor and since it will be nullified there it is a permanent form of building.

However, this restriction only applies by a courtyard that got ruined, as since one is coming to fix the courtyard it appears like one is also intending to level its ground, However, in a different scenario [where it is not apparent that one needs to level his ground then] one is allowed to throw there even something that will be nullified there being that he has no intent to level the ground [by doing so].

How to spread the hay on the ground of a ruined floor:[3] When one spreads the straw on a ruined courtyard, one may not throw it with a basket or a box, but rather with the bottom of the box. [Meaning that] one turns over [the box upside down] and places the straw on the bottom [part of the box that is now facing upwards]. [This is done] in order to change [the way one spreads out the straw] from the way that it is normally done during the week. However, it is forbidden to spread [the hay out] with one’s hand.


Summary of leveling a floor:

It is Biblically forbidden due to the building prohibition to level a floor either by filling one of its holes with dirt and the like or by smoothening down a mound which it contains.[4]

Placing items on one’s floor when there is no intent to level the ground: If ones front yard ruined due to rain it is forbidden to cover its ground using something which can become permanently nullified there. Other materials, such as hay, may be placed there using an irregularity. In other scenarios it is permitted to place even permanent material on a floor when one has no intent to level it.



May one cover a hole in the ground with an item?



If a tile came out from one’s floor may one enter it back into his floor?



May one place a plank of wood over a puddle on Shabbos?

Seemingly yes, as a) One will not nullify it there, and b) One is not filling up the hole, but rather hovering something over it. It is similar to returning the cover of a pit to a pit if it has a handle.



[1] Admur 313:24

[2] Seemingly this refers to that the courtyard became muddy and very difficult to walk on due to the rain, and thus one wants to place material over the ground so he be able to properly walk on it, having no intention to level the ground in doing so.

[3] Admur 313:25

[4] Admur 313:24

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