Introduction This mishnah discusses how much food a person must carry on Shabbat to be liable for carrying. The mishnah is divided into two sections: the first half deals with animal food and the second half deals with human food.
He who carries out a cow’s mouthful of straw, a camel’s mouthful of bean stalks, a lamb’s mouthful of clover, a goat’s mouthful of grasses, moist leaves of garlic or moist leaves of onion the size of a dried fig, [or] a goat’s mouthful of dry [leaves], [is liable]. And they do not combine with each other, because they are not alike in their standards. The general rule is that a person is liable for carrying an amount of animal food equal to a mouthful of the animal that eats that type of food. Cows eat straw, so if he carries a mouthful of straw he is liable. Moist leaves of garlic and onion are fit for human consumption. Therefore one who carries an amount the size of a dried fig is liable. Goats eat dried leaves of onion and garlic, therefore to be liable for carrying these he must carry a goat’s mouthful. These are listed in this section probably because they are more normally eaten by goats. If a person carries a combination of these things each of which is less than the prohibited amount, they do not add up to create a prohibited amount. For instance, if he carries half a cow’s mouthful of straw and half a camel’s mouthful of bean stubble he is not liable. Since all of the amounts are different and one is for one type of animal and another for other types of animal, they do not add up together.
He who carries out [human] food the size of a dried fig is liable, And they combine with each other, because they are equal in their standards, except their shells, kernels, stalks, husks and coarse bran. Rabbi Judah said: excluding the shells of lentils, because they are boiled together with them. To be liable for carrying human food the amount need only be the size of a dried fig. If a person carries two different types of food, they add up. So if one carries half a fig’s worth of raisins and half a fig’s worth of peanuts, she is liable for carrying. This is because there is one standard amount for all human food. When figuring out the size of a piece of food, the non-edible parts are not considered. Rabbi Judah says that the shells of lentils are edible and hence they count in considering how much is being carried.