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Shabbos 124


QUESTION: The Gemara says that in the Beis ha'Mikdash, small smooth sticks were used for suspending the animal used for the Korban Pesach while it was skinned. The Gemara says that these sticks were not used on Shabbos. Rabah says that even though it is permitted to use a Kli sh'Melachto l'Heter (a utensil used to do an act which is permitted on Shabbos), these sticks were not permitted to be used because it was possible for two people to manage without them by placing their arms on each other's shoulders and hanging the animal over their arms while skinning it. The Gemara gives the same ruling for the sticks that separated the loaves of the Lechem ha'Panim from each other to allow air to circulate around them; since it was not necessary to use these sticks, they may not be moved on Shabbos.

Why should these items be prohibited to be moved when it was not necessary to use them? Aren't they utensils which are used for permitted purposes?

(a) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and RASHBA answer that Rabah here is consistent with his reasoning elsewhere. Rabah (later on 124a) is of the opinion that a Kli sh'Melachto l'Heter may not be moved solely for the sake of protecting the utensil ("m'Chamah l'Tzel" -- "from the sun to the shade"); it may only be moved in order to use it or to use its place (see Chart #18). Since it was possible to hang the animal on their arms and it was not necessary to use the sticks, using the sticks would be akin to moving them me'Chamah l'Tzel, and therefore it was prohibited.

(b) The Rishonim cite a variant text of the Gemara in which it is Rava, and not Rabah, who made this statement. This is even more difficult to understand, because Rava permits moving utensils of permitted usage even me'Chamah l'Tzel (124a).

The annotator of the "Oraisa" RASHBA (Rav Moshe Mordechai Karp of Kiryat Sefer) points out that according to the MAGID MISHNAH, the RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 25:3) maintains that even a Kli sh'Melachto l'Heter may not be moved for *no purpose at all*. It may be moved only for a definite purpose. (The Rashba on 43b also records such an opinion.) According to this opinion, then, we can understand the ruling of our Gemara. Moving the sticks in order to hang the Korban Pesach on them was considered moving them for *no purpose*, since the animal could be suspended without the sticks.


QUESTION: The Gemara (124a) cites a Mishnah from Beitzah that states that one may not use a piece of wood to support a pot or a door on Yom Tov. The Gemara explains that there is an argument between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel whether or not the Rabanan enacted decrees forbidding certain things (firewood) to be moved on Yom Tov lest one move them on Shabbos.

Does that mean, then, that according to the Gemara's conclusion the Mishnah in Beitzah is expressing the opinion of Beis Shamai?


(a) The RITVA and the SHITAH L'RAN explain that the Mishnah in Beitzah is indeed recording the opinion of Beis Shamai. Nonetheless, the Halachah is like that Mishnah, because there is another Sugya in Beitzah that gives a *different* reason for why it is prohibited to lean a pot on a piece of wood on Yom Tov -- because pieces of wood are designated to be used *exclusively* as fuel for fires, and thus they are Muktzah and may not be used for any other purpose. According to that reason, the Mishnah in Beitzah is expressing the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah, who is strict with regard to the laws of Muktzah.

(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH answers that when our Gemara says that "one Mishnah expressing the opinion of Beis Shamai" it is not referring to the abovementioned Mishnah in Beitzah. That Mishnah is indeed Beis Hillel's statement, and the reason why pieces of wood may not be used on Yom Tov is because pieces of wood are designated exclusively for lighting fires (as mentioned in the previous explanation). The Gemara recognizes that it has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. When the Gemara says that "one Mishnah is Beis Shamai," it is referring to the Mishnah that the Gemara cites from Megilah (7b) which states that the *only* difference between Shabbos and Yom Tov is food preparation.

(c) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH, citing RABEINU TAM, explains that our Sugya and the Sugya in Beitzah are saying the same thing. Our Gemara says that the Mishnah in Beitzah is Beis Shamai, but agrees with the reason given elsewhere in Beitzah that pieces of wood are designated exclusively for lighting fires. Our Gemara understands that the reason why pieces of wood are Muktzah for any other purpose other than lighting fires is *because* of the Gezeirah forbidding them to be moved on Yom Tov lest one think it is permitted to move them on Shabbos as well.

OPINIONS: The Gemara records an argument between three Amora'im concerning the status of a broken piece of earthenware (Cheres) in the various domains on Shabbos: Everyone agrees that one may handle a Cheres in a Chatzer. However, Shmuel says that it may be handled only in a Chatzer, but not in a Karmelis (and certainly not in a Reshus ha'Rabim). Rav Nachman says that a Cheres may be handled in a Karmelis as well, but not in a Reshus ha'Rabim. Rava permits handling a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim.

What is the basis of their argument?

(a) RASHI explains that Shmuel permits handling a Cheres only in a Chatzer because in a Chatzer, there are plenty of vessels. A broken piece of earthenware can be used to serve as their cover. Vessels are not usually found in a Karmelis, though, and thus a Cheres in a Karmelis has no use and is Muktzah.

Rav Nachman maintains that even in a Karmelis a Cheres is not Muktzah. Even though there are no vessels in a Karmelis, nevertheless the Cheres can be used for covering spittle, and thus it has a use and is permitted to be handled. Shmuel does not consider such an uncommon and trivial use as covering spittle to be significant.

Rava, who permits handling a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim maintains that since in a Chatzer a Cheres has a normal use (covering vessels) and thus it retains its status as a usable utensil, it is permitted to handle a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim. (The fact that it can be used to wipe mud off of one's shoes in Reshus ha'Rabim does not make it into a usable utensil, because wiping off mud is done even with a stone or a piece of garbage with intention to discard. Such a usage does not serve the purpose of a "utensil.")

(b) RABEINU CHANANEL gives the same explanation as Rashi does to explain why everyone permits using a Cheres in a Chatzer; it may be used to cover vessels.

He explains Rav Nachman's reason for permitting the use of a Cheres in a Karmelis as follows. Since carrying from a Karmelis into a Chatzer is only prohibited mid'Rabanan, someone may accidentally carry the Cheres from the Karmelis into a Chatzer, where it will then serve a significant purpose of covering a vessel. Therefore, it is permitted even in a Karmelis.

Rava permits handling a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim, because he maintains that even the relatively insignificant use of wiping mud off of shoes is sufficient to give it the status of a utensil.

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