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Shabbos 121


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that if a gentile tries to extinguish a fire in a Jewish house on Shabbos, we do not stop him, since we are not commanded to see to it that a gentile rests from Melachah on Shabbos. If a Jewish child, however, tries to extinguish the fire, we do stop him, since we are commanded to see to it that a child rests from Melachah on Shabbos. The Gemara points out that it is evident from this Mishnah that if a child is eating Neveilos, Beis Din is obligated to stop him (and this contradicts a Sugya in Yevamos 114a). The Gemara refutes this statement and asserts that Beis Din is *not* required to stop a child from eating Neveilos. The case of the house on fire is different, since the child wants to extinguish the fire *for his father* (but he eats Neveilos for his own enjoyment).

How can it be that we are not required to stop the child from eating something forbidden? What about the Mitzvah of Chinuch and our obligation to teach the child to follow the ways of the Torah?


(a) The RAMBAM explains that the Mitzvah of Chinuch applies only to the father of the child. His father *is* required to stop him from eating something forbidden. No one else, though, is required to stop him.

(b) The RASHBA (Yevamos 114a) and TOSFOS (here, DH Shema Mina) explain that our Gemara is referring only to a child who has not yet reached the age of Chinuch. A child who has reached the age of Chinuch, though, must be stopped from eating forbidden food.

(c) The RASHBA adds that one must train the child to do *actions*. One is not required to enjoin the child to *stop* doing actions.

The RASHBA also writes that it is permitted to feed a child an item which is prohibited mid'Rabanan in order to satisfy the needs of the child (and not to serve the one feeding the child).

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 343) cites the Rambam's opinion that only the father is commanded to stop the child from sinning. The REMA cites both the opinions of the Rambam (a) and Tosfos (b), with the Rambam's opinion as a "Yesh Omrim."


OPINIONS: The Gemara tells us that it is permitted to kill Mazikin (insects or animals that bite and harm people) on Shabbos even if they are not pursuing a potential victim. Which Mazikin may one kill on Shabbos?
(a) According to RASHI (DH v'Divrei ha'Kol), it is only permitted to kill the five very dangerous Mazikin mentioned in the Beraisa, because those Mazikin pose a threat to human life. Since it involves Sakanas Nefashos, one may kill them even if they are not running after someone because they might come to harm someone later. This is also the opinion of the RIF, ROSH, and others.

(b) TOSFOS (DH b'Ratzin), the BEHAG and others maintain that it is permitted to kill *all* types of Mazikin on Shabbos even if they are not pursuing someone. Why may one kill commonplace Mazikin if they are not pursuing someone? The RASHBA explains that since they *commonly* cause harm ("Hezekan Matzuy"), the Rabanan permitted killing them. The ROSH adds that these animals pose a *significant threat* to human welfare, and therefore one may kill them, even though the threat and danger that they pose is not as great as the danger posed by the five Mazikin listed in the Beraisa.

Although it is *permitted* to kill certain animals even when they are not chasing a person (Rashi: the big 5; Tosfos: all), it is disputed whether the Chachamim are *pleased* with someone who kills them on Shabbos ("Ruach Chasidim Nochah Hemenu"). Therefore, TOSFOS concludes that we should be stringent and not kill Mazikin on Shabbos when no there is no threat to a person's life. The RAMBAM, however, is lenient and rules that it is permitted to kill them.

(a) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 316:10) follows the ruling of Tosfos, that one should not kill Mazikin that are not pursuing a person (and that do not pose an active threat to a person's life).

(b) The above discussion, however, involves killing Mazikin deliberately, with obvious intention. However, the Gemara concludes that it is permitted according to everyone to trample the Mazikin "l'Fi Tumo," not deliberately, and to kill them while one is just innocently walking along. (See next Insight for reasons why it is permitted to kill them in this manner.)

(c) It is also permitted to prevent any animal from harming a person by *trapping* it without killing it. The Gemara (107a) states that one may catch and confine a snake or any other Mazikin in order to prevent it from harming someone. Our Gemara only prohibits *killing* the Mazikin.

OPINIONS: Why is it permitted to kill on Shabbos even Mazikin which do not pose an immediate danger, by stepping on them "l'Fi Tumo?"
(a) RASHI (DH Dilma l'Fi Tumo) says that it is permitted to kill Mazikin "l'Fi Tumo" because doing so is only a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven, since the person is walking along normally and has no intention to kill these creatures. Even Rebbi Yehudah, who normally maintains that a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven is forbidden mid'Rabanan, agrees that it is permitted to kill these Mazikin through an act of Davar sh'Eino Miskaven.

(b) The RASHBA disagrees with Rashi. According to the Rashba, the Gemara permits killing the creatures in a deliberate manner as well, as long as he does not make it evident to all that he is deliberately trying to kill something on Shabbos (i.e., he appears to be simply taking a step). The Rabanan permit killing with a Shinuy of this sort, because these animals frequently inflict damage.

The Rashba challenges Rashi's explanation, that "l'Fi Tumo" means that one is walking along and just happens to step on the creature unintentionally, from the Gemara later in which Aba bar Marta told the servants of the Reish Galusa that they may step on spittle lying in the way on Shabbos "l'Fi Tumo." Obviously, they knew that the spittle was there, and yet the Gemara calls this "l'Fi Tumo!" (According to the Rashba's explanation, though, this Gemara is easily understood. One may indeed *intentionally* trample a Mazik, or spittle, as long as he makes it look like it was not his intention to do so.

It could be that according to Rashi, the Gemara means that one may intend to *step on the spittle*, but he may not intend to *smooth the road*. That is, it is permitted to knowingly step on spittle when one does not intend (Eino Miskaven) to smooth the road, even though it is possible that one will indeed end up smoothing the road. This is similar to killing Mazikin "l'Fi Tumo," where one intends to walk on his way, but not to transgress the prohibition of killing creatures. (M. Kornfeld)

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