THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) BURNING CHAMETZ ON PESACH ACCORDING TO REBBI AKIVA
QUESTION: Rebbi Akiva proves that the obligation to destroy Chametz
applies before Pesach begins, because the Torah commands us to *burn* the
Chametz, and igniting a fire (an Av Melachah) on Yom Tov is forbidden.
RABEINU CHANANEL asks that even if igniting a fire was not an Av Melachah
(for which one is Chayav Kares) but only an Isur Lav (a normal prohibition
for which one is Chayav Malkus), it would still be forbidden to transgress
the Torah's prohibition in order to burn the Chametz. If so, why does
Rebbi Akiva say that igniting a fire is an Av Melachah, and therefore
Bi'ur Chametz must be done before Pesach -- even if igniting a fire is an
Isur Lav, Bi'ur Chametz must still be done before Pesach so that one does
not transgress the Isur of lighting a fire!
Rabeinu Chananel answers that if igniting a fire was an Isur Lav, then it
would be permissible to light a fire on Yom Tov in order to burn the
Chametz, because burning the Chametz is a Mitzvas Aseh, and a Mitzvas Aseh
overrides an Isur Lav ("Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh"). Rebbi Akiva's proof that
Bi'ur Chametz must be done before Pesach, therefore, is from the fact that
lighting a fire on Yom Tov is an Av Melachah, which a Mitzvas Aseh does
Even if lighting a fire on Yom Tov was an Isur Lav, how can the principle
of "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" apply in this case? The Lav of lighting a fire
is done long before the Mitzvah of destroying the Chametz is fulfilled!
The Rambam rules that one is Chayav for lighting any amount of fire on Yom
Tov, while the Mitzvah of "Tashbisu" is fulfilled only when all of the
Chametz has been destroyed. If so, the Lav is not being done at the same
time as the Aseh, and in such a case the principle of "Aseh Docheh Lo
Ta'aseh" does *not* apply (Beitzah 8b)!
ANSWER: HARAV MEIR SHAPIRO ( Lubliner Rav and initiator of the study of
Dafyomi), cited in OR L'MEIR, answers that until all of the Chametz is
burned, one is not Chayav for lighting a fire altogether, even though no
Mitzvah was yet performed. The reason for this is because one is not
Chayav for performing a Melachah which accomplishes no productive purpose
("Mekalkel"). When he lit the fire, no productive purpose was
accomplished. Only once the fire completely destroys the Chametz, is the
Mitzvah he performed considered to be the productive purpose of the fire
(as Tosfos says in Shabbos 106a), but at that moment the Aseh is Docheh
the Lo Ta'aseh!
(Rav Meir Shapiro, zt'l, adds (and proves) that Rebbi Akiva does not agree
with Rebbi Shimon (Shabbos 106a) who says that although one is usually not
Chayav for doing a Melachah which is Mekalkel, lighting a fire is
different and one *is* Chayav for Melkalkel of Hav'arah. Rebbi Akiva
argues and holds that even Mekalkel of Hav'arah is Patur. Therefore he had
to emphasize that Hav'arah on Shabbos is an Av Melachah, and is
accompanied by an Aseh and Kares on Shabbos and by an Aseh on Yom Tov such
that it cannot be overriden by the Aseh of "Tashbisu.")
2) DETERMINING WHETHER A "MELACHAH" IS AN "AV" OR A "LAV"
QUESTION: The Gemara learns from the wording of Rebbi Akiva that "Hav'arah
l'Chalek Yatzas," that is, the Torah specifically mentioned the Isur of
kindling a flame on Shabbos to teach that just as one is Chayav Kares and
Chatas for doing the single Melachah of Hav'arah, so, too, one is Chayav
for doing any one of the 39 Melachos (as opposed to being Chayav only when
one has done all 39). He argues with Rebbi Yosi who says that "Hav'arah
l'Lav Yatzas," that is, the Isur of kindling was mentioned separately
because it is only a Lav and not a Chiyuv Kares. How does the Gemara see
that from Rebbi Akiva's words?
3) HALACHAH: LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHAMETZ
(a) RASHI explains that since Rebbi Akiva calls Hav'arah an "Av Melachah"
and not an "Isur Lav," it must be that it is an Av Melachah like any other
and is a Chiyuv Kares.
An interesting implication of the argument between Rashi and the Riva is
the Halachah of Shevisas Behemah (Mechamer) and Shevisas Avadim on Yom
Tov. On Shabbos, the obligation to let one's animal rest on Shabbos is
only an Aseh, and the prohibition against making one's servant or animal
work on Shabbos is a Lo Ta'aseh, but not a Chiyuv Kares. On Yom Tov, then,
what is the Halachah?
(b) The RIVA, cited by TOSFOS (DH l'Chalek), explains that if Rebbi Akiva
was of the opinion that Hav'arah was only a Lav on Shabbos, then on Yom
Tov (such as Pesach, the subject of our Gemara) it would not be forbidden
at all to light a fire. The reason for this is because the Torah only
warns us not to do "Melachah" on Yom Tov. What is defined as Melachah?
Melachah, explains Riva, is an act for which a person is Chayav Kares if
done on Shabbos. An act which is only an Isur Lav on Shabbos is not
considered a Melachah, and therefore it would not be forbidden at all on
(a) The BEIS YOSEF (OC 246) infers from the words of RAV HAI GA'ON that
there is no Isur of Shevisas Behemah on Yom Tov, and the REMA rules like
that as well (OC 246:3).
The argument seems to depend on the argument between Rashi and the Riva.
According to Rashi, even something which is only a Lo Ta'aseh on Shabbos
(like Hav'arah) would be forbidden on Yom Tov, even though it cannot be
called an Av Melachah. Accordingly, Rashi would agree with the Rif and the
Rosh. However, Rav Hai Ga'on, who says that Mechamer does not apply on Yom
Yov, might rule like the Riva who says that anything which is only
forbidden because of a Lav is not called a Melachah and would not be
forbidden on Yom Tov at all. (Even according to the Riva, though, there
exists an Isur d'Rabanan of Shevisas Behemah on Yom Tov, as the Magen
Avraham in OC 246:3 points out, because making one's animal work is an
Uvda d'Chol, a weekday activity.)
(b) However, the Beis Yosef elsewhere (OC 495) questions Rav Hai Ga'on's
opinion, asking how it can be that there is no Isur of Shevisas Behemah on
Yom Tov. Why should it be different from any other Melachah that is
prohibited on Shabbos? Even though the Torah does not specifically
prohibit Mechamer on Yom Tov, all of the other Melachos were also not
specifically prohibited on Yom Tov but they nevertheless apply! In fact,
the RIF and ROSH (Beitzah 36b) clearly rule that Shevisas Behemah and
Mechamer *do* apply even on Yom Tov.
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that if a Jew accepts responsibility for Chametz
entrusted to him by a gentile, he is obligated to get rid of it before
Pesach. Even though he does not own the Chametz, the fact that he is
responsible for it makes it as if he owns it and he will transgress Bal
Yera'eh and Bal Yimatzei if it stays in his property over Pesach.
What extent of responsibility ("Kabalas Acharayus") for Chametz that is in
one's possession must one accept in order to be responsible to destroy it
(a) The BEHAG (cited by the ROSH) says that even one who is a Shomer
Chinam, who is not responsible for anything that happens to the Chametz
(such as theft, loss, and anything beyond his control) except for damage
or loss due to his own negligence ("Peshi'ah"), is considered to have
enough responsibility that the Chametz is considered to be in his domain
and he must get it out of his possession prior to Pesach.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 440:1) writes that l'Chatchilah, one
should be stringent like the Behag and even if one is a Shomer Chinam, he
should get rid of it. B'Di'eved, if he cannot return the object to the
gentile before Pesach, he does not have to destroy it, but he may rely on
the second opinion; since he did not accept liability for theft and loss
he does not have to destroy it.
(b) The RI (cited by the ROSH; see also TOSFOS in Bava Metzia 82b and in
Shavuos 44a) and the RAMBAM (Hilchos Chametz u'Matzah 4:3) rule that in
order to be obligated to get rid of a gentile's Chametz which one is
entrusted with, one must be responsible for theft and loss as well. This
is implied by the Gemara here which says that Rava told the people of
Mechuza that they must get rid of the Chametz in their domains because "if
it is stolen or lost, you will be responsible for it." A Shomer Chinam,
though, will not be obligated to destroy the Chametz he is watching.
(c) The RID (in the Shiltei Giborim) and TOSFOS in Shavuos (44a) and in
Bava Metzia (82b) infer from Rashi that the obligation to destroy Chametz
applies only if one accepted upon himself to be responsible even for any
uncontrollable loss or damage that occurs ("Ones").
(d) From the words of RASHI here (6a, DH l'Olam a'Seifa) it seems that
only if is able to *use* the Chametz, does he have sufficient liability to
make him obligated to get rid of the Chametz. If he cannot use the Chametz
then he is not obligated to get rid of it.