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Shabbos 101


QUESTION: The Gemara states that one may not carry an object more than four Amos in small boats (canoes, according to RASHI) on Shabbos, because the boat only becomes four Tefachim wide *above* a height of three Tefachim from the floor of the boat, and thus the boat is not considered to be a Reshus ha'Yachid.

Even though the boat is not a Reshus ha'Yachid, it should also not be considered a Karmelis, since a Karmelis also must be four Tefachim wide. Rather, the boat should be considered a Mekom Petur, and it should not be forbidden to carry within it! (TOSFOS DH Hani)


(a) The RITVA answers that the Rabanan consider an area a Karmelis even if it does not have walls that are four Tefachim apart that *reach the ground*, even though the walls must reach the ground in order to be defined as a Reshus ha'Yachid. The SEFAS EMES adds that although a Karmelis must have an *area* of four by four Tefachim, it does not need *Mechitzos* enclosing the area in order for it to be a Karmelis.

(b) The RITVA cites in the name of his Rebbi, the RE'AH, that indeed, even in a Mekom Petur one is forbidden to carry an object four Amos! Even though we find that one is allowed to carry from a Mekom Petur to a Reshus ha'Yachid or to a Reshus ha'Rabim and from those domains to a Mekom Petur, only *transferring* between domains is permitted. Within the Mekom Petur itself, it is forbidden to carry four Amos.

(c) Since the boat is constantly moving, it is not considered to set aside a Reshus of its own (which is a Mekom Petur). Rather, it is subordinate to the sea on which it is floating, which is a Karmelis. Thus, the boat is a Karmelis and one may not carry four Amos in a Karmelis. However, if the boat had had the proper dimensions to be considered a Reshus ha'Yachid, it would not be subordinate to the sea, because a Reshus ha'Yachid is always significant unto itself. (M. Kornfeld, based on RASHBA on 5a)

(d) TOSFOS argues with Rashi and gives a completely different explanation for the Gemara. The Gemara is not talking about a canoe, but rather it is referring to a floatation device that looks like an open raft or dinghy. The middle of the raft is open and has no floor. It is partially submerged, and people sit, partially submerged, on the bench-like perimeter of the raft. The raft itself is more than four by four Tefachim wide. (In accordance with his definition of the small boat, Tosfos understands many points in the Gemara completely differently).


QUESTION: The Gemara explains that the presence of fish swimming under a hanging wall is not considered to be a breach of that wall, and even the area under the wall is still considered to be an extension of the wall ("Gud Achis"). The Gemara adduces proof for this from a statement of Rav, who said that a "hanging Mechitzah" (i.e. a wall that does not reach the ground) is not Halachically extended except when it is over water, and this is a "leniency with regard to water which the Chachamim permitted." It must be that the fact that fish swim under the wall does not invalidate the presence of the Halachic extension of the wall.

If it is true that a breach caused by fish is never a problem, why does Rav call this a "*leniency* with regard to water?" It is not a leniency; it is m'Ikar ha'Din!

ANSWER: The RITVA answers that in truth, the presence of fish should have been considered a breach in the Halachic wall, for two reasons: (1) The presence of fish should be no different than the presence of any other animal, and (2) fish swim under the hanging wall more frequently and with greater ease than animals crawl under a wall hanging over land. Nevertheless, the Chachamim were lenient and applied the rule of Gud Achis because fish are not visible, as Rashi comments in the Sugya.

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