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Shabbos 67


QUESTION: How can the Gemara here permit one to use verses from the Torah for healing? The Gemara (Shavuos 15b) states that it is forbidden to use verses for healing!


(a) When one's intention is to heal a spiritual ailment with verses, it is permitted. (MAHARSHA)

(b) If the illness poses risk of mortal danger, one may use verses for healing. (TOSFOS, Shavuos 15b and Pesachim 111a)

OPINIONS: Abaye and Rava rule that any act which is done for Refu'ah does not constitute Darchei Emori, while anything which is not for Refu'ah constitutes Darchei Emori. What is considered something done for Refu'ah?
(a) RASHI (Chulin 77b, DH Yesh) says that the category of Refu'ah includes a liquid, potion, or incantation which one says over a wound. Rashi (ibid.) explains that something done not for Refu'ah refers to an act which is not done "on a sick area," such as burying a Shilya at a junction. The PANIM MEIROS (1:36) understands Rashi to mean that we are allowed to do an act over the body of the sick person, but not from a distance. For this reason he prohibits making a amulet to be hung in a tree to help a baby sleep better.

(b) RASHI here (DH sh'Yesh) defines Refu'ah as an act which works to heal from a medical standpoint. This would seem to exclude an incantation whispered over a wound.

The RAMBAM (Moreh Nevuchim) also says that the act must have some medical quality to its healing ability. The RASHBA (Teshuvos 1:413) questions the Rambam's opinion from the case of the fox tooth, which the Rambam himself rules (Hilchos Shabbos 19:13) is permitted.

(c) The RAN (Chulin 77b) quotes Rashi in Shabbos and asks, as did the Rashba, that the Gemara permits one to wear a fox-tooth as a sleeping potion even though its properties cannot be understood from a medical perspective. The Ran therefore defines an act for the sake of Refu'ah as any act which we know works to heal -- even if it works metaphysically. An "act done not for the sake of Refu'ah" is an act which has no known results.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that saying, "Slaughter this hen which crowed like a rooster!" is prohibited because it is Darchei Emori. In TZAVA'AS RABEINU YEHUDAH HA'CHASID (printed at the beginning of SEFER CHASIDIM, #50), the Chasid writes that if a hen crowed like a rooster, one should slaughter in immediately. Likewise, any strange object should be removed from one's house.

How can he command that such a hen be slaughtered, when our Gemara says that it is forbidden to do so because of Darchei Emori?

(a) The MAHARIL (Teshuvos, #111) says that he asked this question to the Vienna Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Avraham [Klausner], and he was answered that it is permitted to slaughter the hen as long as one does not *say* the reason why he is doing so (that is, because it crowed like a rooster). A similar answer is given by the MAHARSHA (Chulin 95b) and the SHILTEI GIBORIM (Avodah Zarah 9a of the pages of the Rif). This is cited as Halachah by the REMA (YD 179:3). RAV REUVEN MARGOLIOS in Hagahos Mekor Chesed on the Tzava'os points out that this may be inferred from the words of the Gemara. The Gemara does not say that "one who *slaughters* a hen" transgresses the prohibition of Darchei Emori, but that "one who *says*, 'Slaughter this hen...'" transgressed. This implies that it is forbidden only if he says the reason why he is slaughtering the bird.

(b) The VILNA GA'ON (YD ibid.) takes exception to this explanation, arguing that on the contrary -- being quiet shows that he is trying to fool Hashem, as it were, and it makes his act worse and not better. The Vilna Ga'on, therefore, sides with the Maharil's own answer (loc cit.), which is that Rabeinu Yehudah ha'Chasid had a different text in his Gemara. His Gemara read, "*Ein* Bo Mishum Darchei ha'Emori" -- "there is *no* Darchei Emori involved with this act." This reading is also cited by the RASHBA (Teshuvos 1:413), and the KESEF MISHNAH cites it in the name of the RAMACH. It is evident from Rashi, too, that there was such a reading, which he precluding in his comments here.

(c) RABEINU YEHUDAH HA'CHASID himself explains in SEFER HA'KAVOD (a manuscript which included the Tzava'os, which was lost until recently, cited by Hagahos Mekor Chesed and by the new Teshuvos Maharil) explains that even though the Gemara says that it is Darchei Emori, nevertheless, anything strange that happens is meant to arouse a person to do Teshuvah and serves as a warning sign that he should do Teshuvah lest something bad happen to him. It is not clear how this is intended to answer the question. RAV REUVEN MARGOLIOS (loc cit.) explains that this means that if a person slaughters the hen because it crowed like a rooster with no other intention, this is Darchei Emori. But if he does it for an entirely different reason, then it is not Darchei Emori. In this case, if he slaughters the hen to arouse himself to do Teshuvah by reminding himself of the day of death, and he recognizes that the hen's crowing is a sign from Hashem that he must do Teshuvah, then it is permitted.

(d) RAV YOSEF ENGEL (in Teshuvos Ben Poras) suggests another answer based on similar logic. He says that Darchei Emori is only prohibited if a person's intention is to slaughter the hen because that is what the gentiles do. Rabeinu Yehudah ha'Chasid saw that many Jews were slaughtering hens because the gentiles did it, and they were transgressing the prohibition of Darchei Emori (see Sefer Chasidim, #59). In order to spare them from transgressing, Rabeinu Yehudah ha'Chasid commanded that people slaughter hens that crow like a rooster, so that they would then do so because he commanded it and not because the gentiles were doing it. In this manner it would no longer be Darchei Emori!

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