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As previously discussed, under some circumstances on Shabbat you can be limited to a range of only four cubits. Why four cubits? Because it says "every man abide in his place" (Ex. 16:29), and "his place" is understood to be three cubits for his body and one for stretching. R. Mesharsheya asked his son to ask R. Papa: are these four cubits measured by each individual's arm, or by the standard measure? If by the standard measure, then what does Og, king of Bashan (who is a giant) do? And if it's each individual, why hasn't this been taught as such? R. Papa answered: it is calculated by the arm of each individual, but the ruling could not be definite because a person might have stumped limbs (and we want to apply the standard measure in that case). (48a)

Why Og, an Amorite king (and thus, presumably, not Jewish) would be concerned about Shabbat restrictions is not addressed here. Presumably he's just an example, or they consider it in case he converts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
They consider Og because, as a giant, he is an edge case. Including him argues in favor of the individual measure. It is interesting that there is a standard measure as well. For the man with the stumped limbs, why not say a man of such and such height without stumped limbs would have such and such a cubit?
The sages would make excellent unit-test writers.
They would indeed. And I suspect that one reason I took to talmud study so readily when beginning is that I'm already predisposed to do that kind of analysis -- but what about that case, and wait, over here they said this thing that seems to be a contradiction, and how do we reconcile this with current practice which seems to be different...?

(When applying for that para-rabbinic program years ago I did, in fact, use my technical background as part of my argument for why they should accept me -- because of the analytical skills, I mean, not because software development itself means anything to a rabbinic school.)
Yes, I wonder that the answer (here) seems to be "the larger of the standard measure or your measure", but they don't actually come out and say that.
The answer is quite complicated. The letters stand for simon ben nesanel, in other words he had some good in him. And its possible he can come back into the world as a Jew.
http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=45488&st=&pgnum=107

From shulem of mi yodai
Thanks Shulem! I'm not sure what you mean about the letters standing for Shimon ben Nesanel, but your explanation that he could come back into the world as a Jew makes sense. (I lack the skill to read your source directly.)
b sh n is the place he was king in.
which stand for sh imon b en n esanel.
This has nothing to do with the post, but someone just put up this link on FB and I HAD to share it with you: http://www.piyut.org.il/chosen12/english/.index.html#t55

(And this isn't spam or phishing)
Oh cool! Thanks very much!