Pesachim 65-66 שבות במקום מצוה , קל וחומר, and גזירה שוה

The Opening Mishna of our new perek lists the various מלאכות  that form part of the process of the קרבן פסח  that override Shabbos.

These include slaughtering it, sprinkling its blood, מחוי קרביו  (cleaning the insides), and burning its fat, but not roasting it or rinsing the insides-Rashi explains that  the later two can done after dark on Pesach night itself and thus do not override the shabbos laws.

Furthermore, the Tana Kama rules that הרכבתו  (carry it on one’s shoulders), bringing it from outside the techum, or cutting a יבולת  (wart) off it may not be done on shabbos.

Rabbi Eliezer, however, attempts to learn by way of קל וחומר that if מלאכה דאורייתא is pushed aside by the קרבן פסח , surely a שבות  should be.

Rashi explains the view of the Tanna Kama, later expressed by Rabbi Akiva, that  although these are all only שבותים  (rabbinical prohibitions- see inside for why,) they could have been done before shabbos and are thus not permitted, an explanation Rabbi Akiva himself gives after some back and forth which itself requires further analysis.

It should be noted that although we have indeed seen places where a שבות  is treated more stringently than a מצוה דאורייתא  in order that people should not make light of it (see my post of Eruvin 2 for sources and some discussion), neither Rabbi Eliezer nor Rabbi Akiva appear to apply this argument to our discussion.

 This seems consistent with what appears to be the default principle that biblical prohibitions are to be treated more seriously than rabbinical ones, in the absence of Chazal ruling to the contrary, something which itself is subject to much discussion and analysis.

The Gemara on daf 66 opens by relating how the בני בתירה  had forgotten the rule that the קרבן פסח  pushes aside the laws of shabbos, as per the above Mishna.

Hillel then proceeded to prove it to them by way of גזירה שוה based on the word “במועדו”  which is used both by the תמיד  and the פסח- just like the תמיד  pushes aside the laws of shabbos, so does קרבן פסח.

He then adds that this can also be derived by means of a  קל וחומר- if a regular תמיד  which does not cause one who fails to bring it to be liable to כרת  overrides shabbos, surely the קרבן פסח whose neglect brings about כרת  should do so.

The Gemara asks how we know that the תמיד  itself may be offered on shabbos, and concludes that we learn this from the  passuk “עולת שבת בשבתו על עולת התמיד ונסכה”( “ The burnt-offering of Shabbos on its Shabbos, in addition to the regular burnt-offering” – Bamidbar 28/10), which clearly implies that the  regular burnt-offering (תמיד)  is offered even on Shabbos.

The Gemara then ask how  Hillel could base himself on the קל וחומר  when the logical argument is flawed- the תמיד   is תדיר (regular) and is also a   burnt offering, the holiest type of sacrifice which is completely burnt whereas the קרבן פסח  is only once a year and is eaten by the owners!

Although the קרבן פסח  is taken more seriously regarding punishment, the תמיד  is taken more seriously in other ways and the former can thus not be said to be objectively more important than the later.

It answers that the קל וחומר   was actually argued first, and when the בני בתירה countered its logic as per the above argument, he then presented the גזירה שוה.

Unlike a קל וחומר  argument, which any sage could make based on his own logic but could also be countered by another sage’s logic, a גזירה שוה   is based not on logic (at least alone) but on מסורת  (tradition.)

A sage may not simply derive anything he wishes from a גזירה  שוה, but may only apply a גזירה שוה  which he has received from his teacher as part of the oral tradition (see Rashi ד”ה “וכי מאחר”  for his precise explanation of this rule, which we shall hopefully be able to revisit in a later post.)

This limitation also gives it an advantage, in that a countering logical argument cannot push It aside.

The Gemara explains that despite this advantage, Hillel initially preferred to use the קל וחומר  argument , seeing as his contemporaries could retort that they not received this גזירה שוה  by way of tradition like he had- only once the קל וחומר  failed, did he resort to the גזירה שוה.

Although the Mishna clearly holds like Hillel, it remains unclear if and how he was able to convince the בני בתירה  of this, given that they had countered the logic in the קל וחומר  and also did not have the גזירה שוה  as part of their tradition.

Are we to learn from this event that even if a certain sage has not received a גזירה שוה  from his Rabbi, once another sage has revealed a גזירה שוה  to them from his מסורות, they are also to accept it?

If so, why was Hillel initially reluctant to use this גזירה שוה?

On the other hand, if those sages are not required to accept a גזירה שוה  revealed by a colleague, of what help was the גזירה שוה in advancing Hillel’s argument at the end?

The Gemara on daf 66b returns to discussing the relative weight of a שבות  as compared to aמלאכה דאורייתא  and asks whether a melacha may be performed כלאחר יד  (in a back-handed or unusual manner) for the sake of a mitzva.

The specific case discussed is what happens if one forgot to bring the knife needed for the שחיטה  before Shabbos, seeing as this is not one of the things one is permitted to do on shabbos for the sake of the קרבן.

On the previous amud, we learnt that Hillel and his teachers, Shmaya and Avtalyon, had permitted sticking the knife required for the שחיטה  in the wool or hair of the animal so that it is carried by the animal and not by a person.

The Gemara queries this for various reasons, among them the fact that it is biblically forbidden to  perform an action which causes one’s animal to carry something for him on shabbos  (מחמר).

It answers that this is מחמר כלאחר יד , an unusual way of getting an animal to carry something,and Rashi explains that this is because a lamb is not usually used for carrying things (like a donkey or camel are.)

The Gemara counters that מחמר  כלאחר יד is still forbidden on a rabbinical level, and answers that this is precisely the question that had been asked of Hillel.

As its wording seems rather cryptic, I choose to quote the original Aramaic:

דבר שיש לו התיר מין התורה ודבר שבות עומד לפניו לעקרו כלאחר יד במקום מצוה מאי?

Something which is permitted on a biblical level and a rabbinical prohibition stands in its way- may one up-route it in a back-handed manner for the sake of a mitzva?

Although the precise wording seems to be referring to performing a שבות  in a backhanded manner, closer to what we often referred to in halacha as a שבות דשבות לדבר מצוה, the comparison drawn to our case seems to be referring to performing a מלאכה דאורייתא  with  a  שנוי  for the sake of a mitzva, which would be a far more drastic leniency.

The answer he gave, as quoted on the previous amud was in the affirmative – הנח להם לישראל אם לא נביאים הם בני נביאים הם!

May one derive from here that any שבות  may be performed for the sake of the mitzva?

It seems clear from the Mishna (according to Rabbi Akiva)  that it certainly may not, even for the sake of a קרבן פסח, at least if it could have been done before Yom-Tov.

As such, this leniency needs to be applied less broadly, perhaps specifically to the שבות  of כלאחר יד .

Rashi (ד”ה שיש לו התיר) , explicitly notes this distinction and explains that doing something כלאחר יד  is less severe than other שבותים, seeing as it is (relatively) uncommon (Chazal usually only make their decrees in cases that are common!)

In contrast, the Tosfos do not appear to make this distinction, and query how this could be permitted, seeing that it is clear from the Mishna that even a שבות  may not be done for the sake of the mitzva of korban pesach if it could have been performed before Yom-Tov.

Whereas Rashi’s distinction would render their query rather mute, the Tosfos suggest a different distinction, namely between a שבות  performed by a Jew and one performed by his animal- only the later is permitted for the sake of a mitzva-a distinction that appears to fit less into the actual wording of the question asked to Hillel, where no mention of an animal is made.

There could be a major נפקא מינה  (practical ramification) between these two distinctions:

According to Rashi, it seems to follow that ANY melacha may be performed  כלאחר יד/ with a שנוי  for the sake of a mitzva but no other שבות  is permitted (except perhaps in the case of a שבות דשבות.)

In contrast , according to Tosfos, it seems like ANY שבות  might be performed by one’s animal for the sake of a mitzva, but not even כלאחר יד  is permitted by a Jew himself even for such a purpose.

Although this seems the most precise conclusion, given that the Gemara mentions “for the sake of a mitzva” in general and does not limit its version of the question asked to Hillel to the case at hand, it is also possible that both Rashi and Tosfos would limit their respective interpretations of this leniency to a mitzva of the stature of קרבן פסח, however that is defined, which sometimes pushes aside even severe biblical restrictions such the laws of shabbos, and not any other mitzva!

These posts are intended to raise issues and stimulate further research and discussion on contemporary topics related to the daf. They are not intended as psak halacha.

Shabbos 73 Shinui (doing forbidden melacha in an unusual manner)

Shabbos 73 Shinui (doing forbidden melacha in an unusual manner)

This is a very packed daf content wise, starting with more examples of actions lacking full intent, moving to perhaps the most central Mishna in the Masechta containing the list of all 39 forbidden categories of melacha (“work”) on Shabbos , and carrying on with more detailed discussions of the first few of these categories, as well as various other exemptions from liability.

Among the later, we see one of many references in the Maseches and Shas as a whole to melacha done כלאחר יד (in a backhanded, or unusual manner), for which one is not biblically liable to the relevant punishment. (perek 10 Mishna 3 actually lists many examples regarding the melacha of הוצאה )

It is no easy task to get a clear definition of when the manner a melacha is carried out in is defined as backhanded or unusual, but some clues can be gathered from the word used to categorize them, namely כלאחר יד  ( backhanded .)

Although it is clear from other sugyas that performing such melacha is still rabbinically prohibited ,this still has HUGE practical ramifications, as it is  clear that such actions  can be permitted in certain cases,  such as צער ( distress) even if not life threatening  ( see Kasubos 60a re goat milk) ,and it could also be permitted sometimes  if the action itself is already only rabbinically prohibited  ( שבות דשבות ) ,AND it is a case of great need or for the sake of a mitzva ( whether shvus deshvus is permitted for any mitzva even by Jew as opposed to in the context of אמירה לעכום is yet another fascinating discussion for a later post, Hashem willing .

From the phrase itself, It seems that if one does an action usually performed with the front of one’s hand with the back of one’s hand, that is the prototype for an unusual action .

One still needs to analyse whether this is simply due to it being a significantly DIFFERENT way of doing the action as opposed to the usual way, or whether it is because it is a clumsy and inefficient way of doing it- One Nafka Minah could be wearing a key on an armband , which is certainly unusual but not at all clumsy or inefficient! ( it is true that the reason things are done in a certain way is usually because it is the more efficient and easier way to do it, but there are also other factors, such as fashion , cost , and personal taste which could come into play .

However, to get a clearer picture of what types of שנוי  ( change) in the manner of the action qualify the action as backhanded, it is necessary  to examine the different cases around shas, many of which are in this masechta, and some of which we have already covered this cycle – we can’t do that all in the context of this post, but we can try start !

It will also be necessary to examine the sources for this rule, if possible, and see what definition makes most sense based on that source.

We have already learned that a woman normally wears a ring without a signet and a man wears one with a signet ( see daf 62a),  and that those are the respective types of ring that are considered a garment for each of them and thus permitted to wear in the public domain on shabbos.

We also learnt that if a man goes out beshogeig (unknowingly) with a ring without a signet or a woman goes out with a ring with a signet, he or she is liable to a korban .

The Gemara there asked why he or she is liable, seeing that wearing something is not the normal way to transport it, and it should thus be considered a backhanded melacha.

It answers that seeing as it is normal sometimes for them to take it out on behalf of their spouse to put in a safe house , and when they do so, they wear it, it is not considered to be an unusual way of transporting it, and seeing as it is not considered a valid garment or decoration for them, they are liable .

We see from there that wearing something rather than carrying it in one’s hand could theoretically be considered an unusual way of transporting  something, even though it is not an inefficient or clumsy way of doing so, like performing an action with the back of one’s hand is- the only “but” ( which is a big but) is that it can’t be something that its normal even sometimes to transport by wearing.

Now back to our daf – Rav Papa rules that if one throws a clod of dirt at a palm-tree beshoheig  and it detaches a date from the branches, one is liable to bring 2 korbanos(sacrifice), one for uprooting ( harvesting ) and one for mefareik( according to Rashi, a form of threshing [another long complex discussion ] .

In contrast, Rav Ashi (who is usually the final word), rules that he is not liable at all, as this is neither the normal way of picking something or of threshing it.

Does this mean that Rav Papa holds that doing a melacha in a backhanded manner makes one liable, or does he simply mean that it is not considered an unusual way?

As the former is unlikely, given that the exemption of כלאחר יד appears to be a generally accepted one in the shas, perhaps one can suggest that the machlokes(dispute)  is based on our chakira(analysis)  regarding the definition of “backhanded.”)

Perhaps Rav Papa holds that seeing as this is not necessarily an inefficient  or clumsy way of getting the date to fall, and in fact might be easier in some cases than using other methods ( certainly for one with good aim), it is not considered כלאחר יד .

And Rav Ashi holds that seeing as it is indeed unusual, that is sufficient to make it considered significantly backhanded and thus be exempt.

Any other ideas?

And given that in practise we learn most of these exemptions from the requirement of מלאכת מחשבת in the mishkan (or do we?), does this analysis work?