Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shabbas 117b – Bahul al mamono

Rava explains the limit of how much we are allowed to remove from the house that is burning to be based on מתוך שאדם בהול על ממונו אי שרית ליה  אתי לכבויי.

This is contrast to 43b where R’ Yehuda Ben Lakish says מתוך שאדם בהול על מתו אי לא שרית ליה אתי לכבויי. Tosfos there (44a) explains that a person has more concern over a dead body than his money so he will put it out on purpose if we dont allow him a way to save the body. The concern over money however is more of when he is allowed to save, he may get so involved that he will forget its shabbas and then put out the fire.

However, the sugya on 65b still needs to be resolved with our sugya. The gemara, when raising the issue of saving clothes from a fire (הערמה), says that according to Rabbi Meir  on 120a we need to allow all clothes for if not,  דאי לא שרית ליה אתי לכבויי, which is like the death case and not monetary case above!

The Aruch Hashulchan in Siman 334 explains the difference between the sugyos as follows. He says that Rashi in 117b writes “ואי שרית ליה לאתחולי בהצלה”. This word is the key to understand, as it is based on human psychology. When a person is heavily involved in the act of saving things due to the fire he may forget its shabbas and chazal need to consider that and therefore use behala to expand the heter and allow him as much as possible so he does not resort to putting out the fire. Once he has been given enough leeway to act, he is calm and focused and we are no longer concerned about him putting it out, but if we limit him partially, then he may have more confusion and forget its shabbas. On the other hand, sometimes we may limit him from getting involved in kibuy, as in saving three meals which is a small act and not even a “start” in Rashi’s words, then the person understands that Chazal limited what he can do and he accepts it as a gezeira mishamayim and the worry is not that he will put it out, and instead we need to keep him away from getting involved in the acts that would make him forget its shabbas.

Therefore, according to Rabbi Meir we must allow all clothes and not limit to 18 as we are allowing him to act, and similarly on 120b, Chachamim allow all vessels including kelei cheres that will explode immediately since once he is allowed to build the mechitza we need to allow him to finish, for if not, this may cause behala and putting out of the fire.

The Aruch Hashulchan does not address Rabbi Yossi on 120b who says the opposite sevara – that by mechitza, he says that “אי שרית ליה אתי לכבויי”- which would seem to indicate that Rabbi Yossi and Chachamim are arguing about the Aruch Hashulchan’s explanation. Perhaps Rabbi Yossi has a different point of argument and is arguing on how sharp the lines have to be drawn between gerama and kibuy and his concern is that we cannot allow gerama because it looks too much like kibuy and this is unrelated to the question above.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shabbas 120a - saving multiple items in one tallis

The Gemara, based on Rava’s statement that Rav Shizbi misled Rav Chisda, concludes that putting everything into one tallis and taking out is considered hatazala and thus mutar according to everyone.

If we turn back to 19b, we see that there were two talmidim who disagreed  -- one saved with one kli and one saved with many. The Gemara says this is the machlokes in our sugya of Rabba bar Zavda and Rav Huna. The simple interpretation would seem to be as Tosfos explains there that the talmid that saved many keilim was saving to the same chatzer (Rabba bar Zavda) and the one saving only one, was following Rav Huna that even to same chatzer you can only save one.

Based on this, Tosfos on 19b challenges Rashi’s interpretation of the sugya there as Rashi says that the talmid who carried many keilim did it by folding them up together and carrying out all in one shot. But as we said above, this is what our gemara said everyone calls matzil! The Ramban (and Maggid Mishne says Rambam learned this way as well in 23:23), explains that according to Rashi there is a difference between a real mixture where everything is poured together and mixed, as opposed to where all the keilim are put in one tallis and carried out but not really mixed. This latter case is not considered Matzil and only allowed according to Rabba Bar Zavda.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

shabbas 111a -- female sirus

The Gemara states that if we hold that women have a mitzva of פריה ורביה, then this would mean that sirus is assur for them. What is the connection -- animals don't have such a mitzva and it is still assur?
The Minchas Chinuch explains that really the issur of sirus is not dependent on פריה ורביה, based on what we stated above -- that animals are included. Rather, the point of the gemara is that even though women are NOT included in the issur of sirus based on גזירת הכתוב (the source is from the toras kohanim), the gemara suggests a second reason that is independent that would forbid them to drink the כוס של עיקרין, which is פריה ורביה.
Another interesting peshat point in the Minchas Chinuch is that based on the reading of the peshat of our gemara he takes issue with the pesak of the Rambam who paskens that there is a different level of issur if you do direct or indirect sirus. For a man, direct sirus is chayav malkus, while כוס של עיקרין is only assur and for women it goes down one level, where direct is assur and כוס של עיקרין is mutar. He says that the answer of direct vs indirect in the sugya was rejected, thus the pesak should be that one is chayav malkus for a male either way and for a female it should be mutar either way, including a woman due to not being commanded in פריה ורביה.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shabbas 49a - The Mesirus nefesh of Elisha Baal Kenafayim

The Rishonim all ask – this seems like it is a shaas hashemad, so shouldn’t one have to be moser nefesh for anything even not the big three – as the gemara states in Sanhedrin, even arakta demasana – the tying of the shoelace? Tosfos limits the ruling of arakta demasana to be something that is making you dress not like a Jew, while not wearing tefilin is different, since many Jews don’t wear tefilin all day so you won’t look like a goy. The Ramban and others formulate the difference as follows – tefillin is an aseh, so for bittul aseh we do not have to be moser nefesh, since שב ואל תעשה שאני. This leads to a different question, if he did not have to be moser nefesh, why did he take a chance in the first place and wear them? (Similar to the famous question on Mordechai why he risked his and Am Yisrael’s life not bowing to Haman).

This question leads to the BIG machlokes if one is allowed to give up their life optionally (not the big three and not shaas hashemad). The Rambam (יסודי התורה ה:ד) rules that one cannot do so as he writes: כל מי שנאמר בו יעבור ואל יהרג ונהרג ולא עבר הרי זה מתחייב בנפשו. The Lechem Mishneh asks from our case to this halacha and therefore rejects the ideas suggested above (aseh is different or based on how you look), However, he says that Elisha was able to take off his tefillin once he did the mitzva of wearing tefillin that day.

Other Rishonim use this case among others as proof that one may decide to give their lives. The Ran (based on the Ramban)  writes (on the Rif in our sugya) “שאע”פ שאינו מחויב ליהרג על קיומיה אפ”ה רשאי למסור נפשו עליה ומקבל שכר שכל מצוה שמסרו ישראל נפשם עליה בשעת הגזירה מוחזקת בידם ומקבלין עליה שכר הרבה ….”

For an interesting listen on this (related to Holocaust responsa: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/728723/Rabbi_Aaron_Rakeffet-Rothkoff/2008-11-02_Responsa_06, about halfway through the shiur

Monday, March 1, 2010

The definition of yad soledes bo

As Rav Meir mentioned, there is a large gap of what the definition of yad soledes bo. One of the significant sources for this is a teshuva of Rav SZ Auerbach in Minchas Shlomo, you can read here, continuing to here, where he uses a halacha from shechita to come up with minimum shiur for yad soledes bo lechumra. The basic idea there is that it is well documented that the body temperature of a duck is 45 degrees celsius and we also know that according to all opinions, the beis hashechita is not considered to be boiling until the end of the schechita, meaning that a knife that touches the beis hashechita for sure is not treif. Thus, at this temperature we know that we have not reached yad soledes bo

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

shabbas 36b: Shehiya on raw food

The Rashba raises an interesting peshat question that has great ramifications in Hilchos Shehiya.
Obviously, in the first explanation of the Mishna, based on Chananya's shita, the Mishna speaks about chazara, and shehiya is allowed according to Chananya even when not garuf and katum when the food is maachal ben derusai. What about according to the other reading -- according to Chachamim, who say that the mishna speaks about shehiya, i.e. that one can only do shehiya when the oven is garuf vekatum. So in this case, can it even cooked less than מאכל בן דרוסאי?
The Rashba suggests that one problem with this suggestion is our sugya on 18b that discusses the case of the יורה cooking the dye and the gemara's אוקימתא is to remove it from the fire (עקורה וטוחה) rather than leave it on the fire and make it garuf vekatum. Thus, the Rashba suggest that ink is like food prior to מאכל בן דרוסאי. Ultimately, the Rashba decides (as do most rishonim) that according to Chachamim one may do shehiya on an item that is not even maachal ben derusai and the Shulchan Aruch seems to say this as well, though Beur Halacha quotes Rabbi Akiva Eiger to be machmir.
Based on the Gemara we previously learned at the end of the first perek, Beis Hillel allow melacha to be done on shabbas, so what would be the problem? After all, the melacha is happening by itself and by making the item garuf and katum you have removed the possibility of stoking the fire? More specifically why is the raw meat allowed while shehiya is not. For an exhaustive discussion of this, see here. But just to address this one question, in this article, Rav Gigi suggests that when the item is in mid process of cooking (even prior to מאכל בן דרוסאי) then this active accompaniment is called מיחזי כמבשל. The heter of קדירה חייתא is based on the fact after adding this raw meat, you are not watching or accompanying the cooking anymore.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Shabbas 34a – Rav Ashi knew מסברא that he should speak softly

What is the chiddush that Rav Ashi tells us that he did not hear the teaching of Rabba Bar Rav Huna yet he intuitively also knew that he should say the three reminders בניחותא?

Maharsha (in the parallel sugya in Gittin 7a) explains that there are potentially two reasons one would speak softly. One is that he has a better chance of convincing others to listen to him than by screaming, and the second is that there is an inherent value to speak this way. Rabba Bar Rav Huna instructed us to talk to this way to prevent kilkul in these three items (i.e. to convince others to listen) but Rav Ashi was saying that even when your purpose is not convincing, one should be talking this way, and that is what he meant when said that מסברא he would speak this way.

Cute Vort on this idea is said by the Ben Yehoyada, on the pasuk דברי חכמים בנחת נשמעים that נחת stands for נר and חלה (the question of עשרתם) and תחומין.

Shabbas 33b- Rashbi decides to be מתקן מילתא

What is the connection between being saved and doing something for the nearby city as Yaakov and subsequently Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai decided to do?

The Ben Yehoyada answers as follows. (you can see it here continued on the next page here). He says that when HKBH performs a miracle for someone, their merit gets reduced (as we learned on daf 32a). However, this is not always true as we see that with some tzadikim HKBH performs miracles for them as a tzedaka. The ability to have the miracles performed for you as a tzedaka is based on the person doing a חסד חינם for others. i.e. some chesed that he gets no benefit from., then מדה כנגד מדה HKBH will do the same for you. This was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s intent in doing something for the the city. And since he is not a kohen and does not even live there, this purifying of the area from being tamei was purely for their benefit and not his. The Ben Yehoyada shows this is the reason for the derasha about Yaakov being shalem in all these ways that therefore his various takkanos have no benefit for him.

One interesting thing he relates is about the opinion that מטבע תיקן להם. Ben Yehoyada says in the name of the Noda Biyehuda that the people of Shechem had a coin but he convinced them to make it round instead of square. The reason for this was that they should learn that money is a גלגל חוזר בעולם and therefore people should not get too caught up in their money. He says that this is why one of our coins are זוזים since they are זז from person to person.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shabbas 30b – answering a mamzerus insult

We learned that both Rebbi and Rabbi Chiya were a proof to the statement that when it comes to non Torah statements, אלתען כסיל כאולתו, i.e. – don’t answer and debate him. The Ben Ish Chai in his sefer Ben Yehoyada says he found a worn piece of paper with a question asked by his grandfather, from the gemara in bava metzia that we learned – where Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar was suspected as not having fathered his own children, due to his girth. But over there, he did answer – why?

Ben Yehoyada answers that there it was not a real accusation, it was just השערת שכל and therefore, since Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar had a concrete answer to her suggestion, it was appropriate to disprove her. But in this case, the guy was making a lying accusation  and there is no way to really prove him, therefore it was best to not answer and get him punished min hashamayim.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shabbas 25b - Rabbi Yehuda Bar Ilay on Erev Shabbas

(The following is a small excerpt from “כיבוד ועונג שבת” in volume 1 of Shiurim Lezecher Abba Mari (Rav YD Solovoeitchik), which is highly recommended to see inside in its entirety)

The Rambam codifies the actions of Rabbi Yehuda Bar Ilay in Perek 30 of Hilchos Shabbas as follows:

איזה הוא כיבוד--זה שאמרו חכמים שמצוה על אדם לרחוץ פניו ידיו ורגליו בחמין בערב שבת, מפני כבוד השבת.  ומתעטף בציצית ויושב בכובד ראש, מייחל להקבלת פני השבת, כמו שהוא יוצא לקראת המלך.  וחכמים הראשונים היו מקבצין תלמידיהן בערב שבת, ומתעטפים; ואומרים, בואו ונצא לקראת שבת המלך

Subsequent to this Halacha, the Rambam continues to list other items included in the definition of כבוד שבת. But as these are mentioned first and together there would seem to be some significance to this. The Rav pointed out that these 4 items mentioned 1. washing 2. wrapping in tallis 3. כובד ראש and 4. sitting in anticipation are found by Tefilla as well. The Rambam lists washing yadayim as one of the items that is מעכב davening. In Hilchos tzitizis, the Rambam writes that “לעולם ישתדל להיות עטוף בכסות המחוייבת בציצית, כדי שיקיים מצוה זו.  ובשעת התפילה, צריך להיזהר ביותר”. As for כובד ראש we know the din that tefilla requires it and as for anticipation, the Rambam codifies the requirement “לפיכך צריך לישב מעט קודם התפילה, כדי לכוון את ליבו, ואחר כך יתפלל”

The purpose of these Halachos in tefilla are that we are preparing before we encounter HKBH and stand before Him. Therefore we see from here that these laws of כבוד שבת are based on the same idea, preparing to receive the Shechina into our homes (קבלת שבת). Once we successfully make this part happen, the rest of the halachos of כבוד שבת are how the house has to be set up to accommodate our Guest, that we should have clean clothing, candles, etc.

These two aspects of כבוד שבת are actually seen in the source pasuk for the din of כבוד שבת in sefer ישעיהו which mentions כבוד twice: וקראת לשבת עונג לקדוש ה’ מכובד refers to the כבוד related to the acknowlegement of the presence of the shechina, while the continuation of the pasuk is “וכבדתו מעשות דרכיך” – the actions we need to do like how we dress, food, etc.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Shabbas 21-22 – Using Chanuka candles

On 21b, the Gemara seems to conclude like the din of Rav that אסור להשתמש לאורה. As the בעל המאור writes, this would seem to be a blanket statement that would prohibit all use of the candles whether it is for mitzva or reshus or תשמיש קדושה. The בעל המאור  even explains the logic that these candles are a זכר for the menora in the beis hamidkash which are completely אסור בהנאה. Based on this the gemara on 22a א”ר יהודה א”ר אסי אסור להרצות מעות כנגד נר חנוכה would seem to disagree with this din. For this reason, we explained in shiur that this would be the reason to exclude Rav from this din, since it is not in line with the previous statement of Rav that completely negated use of the נרות חנוכה. We then have the following sugya where there is a machlokes if מדליקין מנר לנר. Again, this discussion should not even start according to the original statement of Rav.

However, a problem arises due to the pesak of the Rambam and Rif, who pasken the first sugya like Rav, and yet allow lighting מנר לנר. How can we understand this?

The Ramban defends the Rif and explains that there is another way to understand the case of הרצאת מעות. Rather than understand as we did until now that this is a lower level use than mitzva, he explains that this is a bigger chiddush – since it is just using the candle light for simple glance to see the coins. (in chidushei Haramban he writes that it does not even look like הנאה since it is done from a distance) Therefore, Shmuel who allows הרצאת מעות still agrees with the fundamental din of Rav that אסור להשתמש לאורה and argues about this din since he defines it as הנאה and not תשמיש. This explanation also seems to be peshat of the Rambam as he writes “אסור להשתמש לנר חנוכה … ואפילו לבדוק מעות או למנותן לאורה אסור”

What about הדלקה מנר לנר—why should the Rif and Rambam allow this? The Ramban in the chidushim explains that this is allowed since the two candles are part of the same mitzva and מין במינו אינו בטל. Thus the only תשמיש מצוה allowed is this lighting and one cannot reuse the lights as נרות שבת either as we see in the gemara later.