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Shabbos 137


QUESTION: A person has two babies that need Milah. One baby's Milah is to be performed on Shabbos and the other baby's Milah is to be performed on Sunday. The Mohel mistakenly circumcises, on Shabbos, the baby whose Milah was supposed to be on Sunday. The Mishnah says that he is Chayav for performing a Melachah on Shabbos.

Why is he Chayav? Since he performed the Milah before the eighth day, he did not fulfill the Mitzvah of Milah, and thus his act is Mekalkel, a destructive act and not a productive one. One is normally exempt from a Korban if a destructive Melachah (Mekalkel) is performed on Shabbos!


(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER cites the ROSH (#5), who proves that if Milah is done to a baby before the eighth day, the baby does not need any further Milah or Hatafas Dam Bris when the eighth day arrives. Although the Mitzvah of Milah was not fulfilled, the baby is considered fully circumcised. If so, the act of Milah was indeed a constructive one.

(b) Rebbi Akiva Eiger further explains that from the Gemara in Kerisus 19b it is evident that our Mishnah follows the opinion of Rebbi Shimon, who holds that for the Melachah of Chovel (making a wound) one is Chayav even when his act is Mekalkel.

QUESTION: The Mishnah says that it is possible for the time for a baby's Milah to occur twelve days after he is born: If he was born during Bein ha'Shemashos and following is followed by two days of Rosh Hashanah. Why does the Mishnah say that Shabbos was followed by two days of *Rosh Hashanah*, and not any two-day Yom Tov?


(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Milah 1:15) learns from this Mishnah that even a Milah that is not performed at its proper time (i.e. on the eighth day) *does* override the second day of Yom Tov. Had it not been Rosh Hashanah, the Milah *would* be performed on the second day of Yom Tov.

The Rambam's reasoning is that the second day of Yom Tov is a rabbinical injunction, while the Mitzvah of Milah is mid'Oraisa. A Mitzvah mid'Oraisa overrides a rabbinical injunction. The second day of Rosh Hashanah, however, is not merely a Yom Tov because of the rabbinical injunction; rather, it is a Safek Yom Tov mid'Oraisa, and therefore it is not permitted to perform on the second day of Rosh Hashanah a Milah that cannot be performed on Shabbos.

(b) The RITVA, TESHUVOS HA'ROSH, and TUR take issue with the Rambam and maintain that Milah (except when performed on the eighth day) may not be performed on the second day of *any* Yom Tov. The reason why the Mishnah specifically mentions Rosh Hashanah is because the Mishnah was written in Eretz Yisrael, where there no other Yom Tov was two days long. This also seems to be the opinion of Rashi (Pesachim 47a).


OPINIONS: The Gemara says that Tzitzin ha'Me'akvin are strips of skin which cover "most of the height of the Atarah." What exactly is the Atarah?
(a) The BEIS YOSEF (YD 264) quotes a response written by "a Chacham from Spain" who writes that the Atarah is the entire upper section that is covered by the Orlah skin before the Milah. The strips of skin which cover "most of the height of the Atarah," then, refer to long pieces of skin that cover the top of the organ until past the tip.

(b) RASHI, however, seems to understand the definition of the Atarah differently, as the BECHOR SHOR here points out. Rashi on the Mishnah (DH Atarah) implies that the Atarah is the ring of skin just below the Orlah that encircles the organ. The circumference of skin there is the Atarah, and strips of skin that "cover most of the height of the Atarah," then, are strips that cover most of the height of that narrow ring of skin (that is, even very small strips of skin). The Bechor Shor backs Rashi's opinion with a Gemara in Yevamos (75a).

HALACHAH: The Beis Yosef writes that one should be stringent like the second opinion and make sure to cut off even small strips of skin remaining, if they cover most of the height of the circular ridge of skin.
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