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Shabbos 60


QUESTION: The Mishnah says that a woman may not go out with an un-holed needle. In explaining the Mishnah, the Gemara goes through two stages, in which it asks two questions: (1) "What is this un-holed needle used for?" (The Gemara answers that it is used for parting her hair.) (2) "What is the un-holed needle used for on Shabbos?"

Why is the Gemara repeating its question? What was wrong with the answer that the Gemara gave, that it is used for parting her hair?


(a) RASHI explains the difference between the two question as follows. The Gemara first asks why is the un-holed needle considered a part of her clothing and not something she carries? The Gemara answers that since she parts her hair with it, it is considered part of her clothing. The Gemara then asks its second question -- on Shabbos, when she cannot part her hair with it, why is it considered part of her clothing? The Gemara answers that on Shabbos it is worn as an ornament, with the gold plate at its tip displayed prominently.

(b) TOSFOS (DH l'Mai Chazya) asks several questions on Rashi's explanation. First, why does using the needle to part her hair make the needle into a piece of her clothing? Even if she *could* part her hair with it on Shabbos, it would *not* be considered a piece of her clothing or an ornament. It is just stuck into the hair so that it should be available to the woman at all times -- i.e. she is *carrying it* in her hair! Second, why is it prohibited to part one's hair on Shabbos? (It cannot be prohibited because of the possibility that she may pull out hair. Such an act would be no more than a Davar she'Eino Miskaven, akin to combing the hair of a Nazir, which Rebbi Shimon (50b) permits.)

Tosfos therefore suggests that the two questions of the Gemara are as follows. The Gemara first asks a general question -- what does a woman do with an un-holed needle in the first place? Second, once we know that it is generally used to part her hair, why is the needle considered an *ornament*, or a piece of clothing, and not just something that she is carrying. (That is, Tosfos understands the second question to be what Rashi understood was the first question)?

In defense of Rashi, we could suggest that Rashi understood that the needle, after being used to part her hair, was then *pinned* into the hair to *keep it parted*. Therefore, it is appropriately considered an ornament, because by being there it makes her hair look nice. This answers Tosfos' first question.

Second, the Gemara later (95a) says that a woman may not braid her hair on Shabbos because it is considered Binyan (building). If so, pinning-up her hair is also considered Binyan and therefore it would be prohibited on Shabbos. This answers Tosfos' second question. (M. Kornfeld)

QUESTION: The Mishnah says that it is prohibited to wear "Sandal ha'Mesumar" (nailed-up shoes) on Shabbos. The Gemara explains why the Rabanan enacted such a prohibition, relating that several tragedies occurred whereby many Jews inadvertently killed each other. What do these tragedies have to do with Sandal ha'Mesumar?


(a) RASHI explains that the cause of death was that they trampled each other with their Sandalim ha'Mesumarim, which had thick nails protruding from their bottoms.

(b) According to TOSFOS (DH v'Sham'u) and other Rishonim, the Sandal ha'Mesumar was the cause of the stampede in the first place. In the first incident, it was a Sandal ha'Mesumar that was reversed, that caused everyone in the cave to panic at the thought that someone may have walked out of the cave and been spotted by the Romans. In the second and third incidents, it was the noise of a Sandal ha'Mesumar's nails clanging against the ground that caused the Jews to panic at the thought that a Roman had found their whereabouts and was approaching to kill them.


QUESTION: According to both explanations above (Insight #2) as to why the Rabanan prohibited wearing the Sandal ha'Mesumar, why did they prohibit it only on Shabbos and Yom Tov? Granted, the Gemara says that the incidents occurred on Shabbos, but the tragedies themselves were unrelated to Shabbos (and they could have happened any day of the week). They were simply a result of the Jews fleeing from the Romans! What is the logical connection between the tragedies and Shabbos?


(a) The ME'IRI explains that the Rabanan wanted to prevent the joy of Shabbos and Yom Tov from being compromised if people were to be reminded of the tragedies that occurred on those days. Therefore, they prohibited the Sandal ha'Mesumar on Shabbos and Yom Tov, the very day that the tragedy happened, so that people would not be reminded of it and saddened.

(b) The Rabanan were concerned of a recurrence of those tragedies. Therefore, on days when Jews gather together because they cannot work (Rashi DH Ika) -- which closely resembles the circumstances in which the tragedies occurred -- the Rabanan prohibited wearing the Sandal ha'Mesumar. On other days of gathering, such as a fast day, since people gather together to Daven (i.e. for a positive and not a negative reason), the Rabanan assume that they will be engrossed in their prayer and no tragedy will occur. (M. Kornfeld)

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