(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Beitzah 20


QUESTIONS: The Gemara records two different traditions among the Tana'im concerning the Machlokes between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel about Semichah. Some explain that the argument was whether it is permitted to do Semichah on Yom Tov, or whether it is prohibited because it involves transgressing the Isur of using an animal ("Mishtamesh b'Ba'alei Chaim"). Others say that the Machlokes is whether or not there is an obligation to do Semichah at all for Korbanos of Shalmei Chovah (obligatory, as opposed to voluntary Korbenos Shelamim), even on a weekday. RASHI (DH Beis Shamai Hi) explains that according to the second opinion, that says that the argument is whether or not there is an obligation of Semichah at all, Beis Shamai holds that the Semichah of a Korban Chovah will not be Docheh Yom Tov. Rashi's words are difficult to understand.
(a) Why does Rashi write that Semichah will not override Yom Tov, implying that during the week, it is permitted to do Semichah? It should be prohibited to do Semichah during the week as well, because leaning on the animal when there is no Mitzvah is considered Avodah b'Kodshim, using a sanctified animal for one's own purposes (as the Gemara says in Chagigah 16b). If Rashi means that these Tana'im hold that Semichah does not need to be done with all of one's strength (and that is not considered Avodah b'Kodshim), then why should it be Asur even on Yom Tov? If it is not done with all of one's strength, then just like it is not Avodah b'Kodshim, it is not "Mishtamesh b'Ba'alei Chaim" (as the Gemara in Chagigah says as well) and it should be Mutar on Yom Tov!

(b) The Gemara in Chagigah quotes Rebbi Yochanan who says that the rabbinical enactments of Shevus should not be taken lightly, because we find that (according to Beis Shamai) the Rabanan enacted an Isur of Shevus prohibiting Semichah on Yom Tov, even though it is a Mitzvah d'Oraisa. The Gemara there asks what is Rebbi Yochanan teaching us? It is explicit in the Mishnah that Beis Shamai does not allow Semichah to be done on Yom Tov! The Gemara answers that Rebbi Yochanan is teaching us that we should understand the Mishnah like the first approach above, that the Machlokes concerning Semichah is whether or not Semichah may be done on Yom Tov, and not whether or not there is any obligation to do Semichah in the first place (even on a weekday).

We see from the Gemara there that if the Machlokes was whether there is Semichah or not, then we would not be able to learn anything about the severity of Shevus. How, then, can Rashi write that even according to the opinion that the Machlokes is whether there is Semichah or not, it is Asur on Yom Tov because of Shevus? (REBBI AKIVA EIGER in GILYON HA'SHAS and in DERUSH V'CHIDUSH (Chagigah 16b) and TOSFOS REBBI AKIVA EIGER on Mishnayos)

ANSWERS: The SHA'AR HA'MELECH (Hilchos Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos 3:13, see RASHASH) suggests a beautiful answer for these questions.
(a) Rashi was bothered by a question on the Sugya, asked here by the SHITAH MEKUBETZES in the name of TOSFOS (and the PNEI YEHOSHUA). If the Machlokes between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel is a general argument whether or not there is Semichah for a Korban Chovah, then why was this Machlokes recorded here in Maseches Beitzah? It is not relevant to the Sugya at all! (The Pnei Yehoshua leaves this question unanswered. Tosfos cited in the Shitah answers that the Mishnah means to teach us that Beis Hillel, who argues and permits Semichah, permits it *even* on Yom Tov.)

In order to answer this question, Rashi found it necessary to learn (as did the ME'IRI, Chidushim DH Hu d'Amar and DH d'Amar Lach) that even if there is no obligation to perform Semichah for a Korban Chovah, nevertheless if a person does do Semichah on a Korban Chovah, he fulfills a Mitzvah. (We find a similar concept in Eruvin 96b, where Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Shimon say that women, although exempt from the Chiyuv of Semichah, are nevertheless permitted to do Semichah and it is not considered Avodah b'Kodshim.) The owner of any Korban (and only the owner) is allowed to do Semichah even though it is not obligatory to perform Semichah on that particular Korban, and it is not considered doing Avodah b'Kodshim. Therefore, during the week it is permitted to do Semichah on Shalmei Chovah and it is not Avodah b'Kodshim, because one fulfills a Mitzvah when he does it. On Yom Tov, though, there is an Isur of "Mishtamesh b'Ba'alei Chaim." By doing Semichah on Yom Tov (even when it *is* obligatory to perform Semichah on the Korban), one will be transgressing that Isur d'Rabanan, and since there is no obligation to do Semichah in this case, the Rabanan did not permit performing an optional Semichah on Yom Tov.

(Rashi's approach, that Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Shimon permit optional Semichos, contrasts with that of TOSFOS in Chulin (85a, DH Nashim) who says that even Rebbi Yosi permits women to do Semichah only *without* all their strength, for in such a case there is only an Isur d'Rabanan of being Mezalzel b'Kodshim, and not an Isur d'Oraisa of Avodah b'Kodshim. Rashi disagrees with this there and in a number of places, and says that according to Rebbi Yosi women may do Semichah with all of their strength, even though it would normally involve an Isur d'Oraisa of Avodah b'Kodshim.)

(b) To answer the second question, the SHA'AR HA'MELECH explains that the Gemara in Chagigah means that if Beis Shamai holds that there is no need to do Semichah at all, then the fact that they do not allow Semichah does not show that Shevus is strong enough to override a Chiyuv d'Oraisa -- *not* because there is no Chiyuv of Semichah whatsoever, but because the Semichah is not a *Chiyuv* but is only *permitted* to be done. According to the other opinion, which says that there definitely is a Chiyuv of Semichah for Shalmei Chovah, then the fact that the Rabanan said not to do it on Yom Tov shows how severe Shevus is, because it overrides even a Chiyuv d'Oraisa.

Rebbi Akiva Eiger apparently did not accept this answer (see RASHASH), because, as the Sha'ar ha'Melech points out, Rashi in Chagigah implies that according to those who say that Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai argue whether there is Semichah altogether for Shalmei Chovah, Beis Shamai holds that one may not do Semichah throughout the week as well as on Yom Tov. (See also KEHILAS YA'AKOV, who suggests -- based on a Yerushalmi cited by TOSFOS Pesachim 66b DH v'Ha -- another answer to Rebbi Akiva Eiger's question: According to Rashi there is a rabbinical obligation to perform Semichah on Shalmei Chovah, and when the Rabanan said to perform Semichah it is not considered Avodah b'Kodshim.)


QUESTION: Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue whether one may slaughter Shalmei Chovah (such as the Shalmei Chagigah) on Yom Tov. They each propose logical arguments for their positions. There are two versions given in the Gemara describing their argument. According to the first Tana, Beis Hillel says that if slaughtering an animal is permitted for one's personal eating purposes, then certainly it should be permitted for the sake of Gavo'ah. According to the second Tana (Aba Shaul), Beis Hillel says that it is not proper for one's own table to be full while Hashem's table is lacking.

Beis Shamai first counters that Beis Hillel's Kal v'Chomer cannot be valid, for everyone agrees that Nedarim and Nedavos may not be brought on Yom Tov, and yet Beis Hillel's Kal v'Chomer should have permitted them. If the Kal v'Chomer is not valid, Shalmei Chovah should also be prohibited. Next, Beis Shamai proves his opinion from the verse which says "Lachem," implying that it is permitted to do Melachah only "for you" but not for Hashem, and therefore it should be Asur to slaughter Shalmei Chovah on Yom Tov.

Beis Hillel responds with a verse supporting his opinion. The verse says "la'Hashem," teaching that Melachah may be done for the sake of Gavo'ah. Why does Beis Shamai have to present arguments from Nedarim and Nedavos, or from the verse of "Lachem?" Beis Shamai should say simply that they do not accede that there is a principle of "Mitoch," and therefore it is prohibited to slaughter a Korban because it is not Ochel Nefesh! (Beis Shamai holds that it is only permitted to do a Melachah for the purpose of Ochel Nefesh, food preparation, and it is not permitted to do a Melachah, which is usually done for Ochel Nefesh, for any other purpose, as we saw on Daf 12a.)

In addition, the Gemara earlier (12a) was in doubt whether or not Beis Hillel holds of the principle of "Mitoch." Why did the Gemara there not cite a proof from Beis Hillel's opinion here to prove that Beis Hillel holds of "Mitoch?"

ANSWER: Apparently, the Gemara wants to permit slaughtering Korbanos not because of "Mitoch," but because the Korban itself is considered Ochel Nefesh. There is Ochel Nefesh for a Jew to eat, and there is "Ochel Nefesh" for Gavo'ah -- when a Korban is offered it is called "Achilas Mizbe'ach," as in Chulin 81b. (Alternatively, offering a Korban is considered Machshirei Ochel Nefesh, because a person does not want to eat his own food while his Master's table is empty.)

QUESTION: The conclusion of the Gemara (12a) is that Beis Hillel does hold of the principle of "Mitoch."
(a) According to Aba Shaul, Beis Hillel in our Gemara permits doing Shechitah of all Korbanos (even Nedarim and Nedavos) and does not accept the Derashah of "Lachem" (for you and not for Hashem). If Aba Shaul wants to defend the reasoning of Beis Hillel, then why does he not simply say that Beis Hillel holds of "Mitoch" and that is why it is permitted? Why does he have to give logical arguments?

(b) Second, even those who maintain that both Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel do not consider the slaughtering Nedarim and Nedavos to be Ochel Nefesh, as we just explained (i.e., the Tana Kama of Aba Shaul) should permit slaughtering Nedarim and Nedavos according to Beis Hillel, because of "Mitoch!"

(a) TOSFOS (12a, end of DH Hachi Garsinan) explains that "Mitoch" only permits something that is needed for Yom Tov itself ("Tzorech Yom Tov"). Nedarim and Nedavos do not involve any Tzorech Yom Tov. Therefore, "Mitoch" cannot permit slaughtering Nedarim and Nedavos. That is why Aba Shaul must mention the additional logic -- that it is not proper for one's table to be full while one's Master's table is empty -- in order to make the offering of Nedarim and Nedavos into a "Tzorech Yom Tov."

(b) The reason Beis Hillel prohibits offering Nedarim and Nedavos on Yom Tov according to the first Tana is because of "Lachem," which tells us that not only is it prohibited to do Melachah for the *Ochel Nefesh* of Gavo'ah, but the principle of "Mitoch" does not permit Melachah to be done for Gavo'ah as well, as Tosfos says on 12a (DH ha'Shochet).

However, TOSFOS and TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ on Daf 19a give another answer. They explain that if it were not for the verse of "la'Hashem," we might have thought to prohibit bringing *all* Korbanos except for the Chagigah on Yom Tov because of the verse that Ula cites in defense of Beis Shamai on 19a ("v'Chagosem Oso" -- the Chagigah may be brought, but not any other Korban).

The MAHARSHA wonders why Tosfos did not say simply that we would have thought to prohibit bringing all Korbanos from the verse that Beis Shamai uses here as proof against Beis Hillel -- "Lachem" (for you and not for Hashem), as we explained above. Why does Tosfos here mention the new verse of "v'Chagosem?"

The answer might be that in the first Beraisa in the Sugya, Beis Hillel agrees from the start that Nedarim and Nedavos cannot be brought. If so, why did Beis Shamai think that they had a proof against Beis Hillel from "Lachem," if they knew that Beis Hillel themselves use "Lachem" to prohibit the offering of Nedarim and Nedavos? It must be that Beis Hillel has a second reason for prohibiting Nedarim and Nedavos. What is that second reason? It must be the verse of "v'Chagosem."

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,