Mishnah Sample I

Mishnah Baba Qamma 3:1-3

He who leaves a jar in the public road
and someone else comes along and stumbles on it and breaks it--
he is free (of liability).
And if he is injured by it, the owner of the jar is liable for his injury.
If his jar is broken in the public way
and someone else slips on the water
or is injured by its shards
he (the owner) is liable.
R. Judah says, (if he did it) intentionally, he is liable,
(if he did it) unintentionally, he is free (of liability).

He who pours out water into the public way
and someone else is injured by it
he who poured the water is liable for his injury.
He who puts out thorns and glass
and he who makes his fence of thorns
and a fence which fell into the public way
and other people are hurt by them
he is liable for their injury.

He who brings out his straw and stubble to the public way for manure
and someone else was injured by them
he is liable for their injury.
And whoever grabs them first can keep them.
R. Simeon ben Gamaliel says
Whoever does damage in the public way and causes injury
is liable to pay.


1. Does this seem like a religious document? Why or why not? What is the source of the document's authority?
2. Is there an organizing principle behind these "laws"? For example, could you use these cases to figure out what the Mishnah would say about other situations, such as:
A. You leave your bike in the sidewalk in front of a building. Someone trips over it and breaks the mirror. Who should pay to fix the mirror? What if the person who trips breaks their glasses? Who pays to replace them?
B. You put garbage out for the collector at night by the road. Someone takes piles of things you have put next to the cans. Is that stealing?
C. The garbage cans are blown into the road that night and someone trips over them. Who pays the doctor bills?