In loving memory of my dear father, Moreinu haRav Avraham Benzion ben Azriel Hertz Isaacson zt’l, whose love of Torah, passion for justice, and acts of kindness inspire everything I do.
One of the guiding principles of these posts, as taught to me by my Rebbeim, is that while it is both impossible and disingenuous to resolve complex questions based on isolated sugyas without considering all sugyos in the shas that pertain to the relevant question (obviously the domain of senior Talmidei-Chachamim) , passing through daf of Gemara superficially without taking note of things that could impact these questions is a waste of an incredible opportunity to build one’s database, and likely a form of בטול תורה.
I would like to touch briefly one how some topics we have discussed before in our posts are enriched by these daf:
סיכה כשתיה and deodorants on Pesach:
In our post on Shabbos 86a (please refer there for background,) we discussed using non-edible substances containing chametz (such as deoderant containing wheat-based alcohol) on one’s body on Pesach.
This was based on the Mishna (Shabbos 86a) which says that regarding Yom-Kippur, the rule is that סיכה כשתיה (annointing is like drinking( and not only drinking chametz liquids but annointing with them is also forbidden (albeit as noted there, not treated as stringently.)
We discussed whether this rule applies in other areas of halacha as well, specifically chametz on Pesach, in which case although the prohibition of deriving any benefit from chametz on Pesach only applies to chametz that is fit for a dog to eat, something that is fit for annointing such as deodorant might be considered as if it is fit for drinking and thus also forbidden (please refer to that post for a more detailed analysis of this and other factors involved.)
At the bottom of Pesachim 31b, the Gemara quotes a Mishna which forms much of the discussion on Daf 32a.
This Mishna (Trumos 6/a) tells us that a זר (non kohain) who eats תרומה (the portion separated for the kohain) בשוגג (unintentionally) must compensate the kohain with the קרן (same amount of fruit) plus חומש (a fifth penalty [actually a quarter of principle, making the penalty a fifth of the total paid]) and that this applies also to one who drinks תרומה or anoints oneself with it.
Rashi (as well as the Bartenura on the Mishna) explains that although the Torah only requires this penalty of one who ate תרומה, and not one who damaged it (as the Gemara derives later on the daf,) we know from elsewhere (Yoma 76b) that סיכה כשתיה (annointing is like drinking) and for this reason, one who anoints himself unknowingly with תרומה is also liable to this penalty.
As such, we have seen at least one other area of halacha, namely the prohibition of eating תרומה, that the principle of סיכה כשתיה applies, at least according to Rashi, and also according to this Mishna itself
(see ר”ש who points out that this is based on a ת”כ ), in the absence of some other explanation.
While we can still not conclude that this is the case regarding chametz on Pesach, from this Mishna, things are starting to look more that way, though we have still not shown that the principle extends so far as to make something that is ראוי לסיכה (fit for annointing) as if it is ראוי לשתיה (fit for drinking.)
All the above is based on this Mishna and daf, but a thorough study of the sugya in Yoma and elsewhere will show that many Rishonim say that Yom-Kippur and תרומה are indeed exceptions, and discuss whether even there, the prohibition is only דרבנן, just another illustrating of the guiding principle we opened this post with.
קים ליה בדרבה מינה – the greatest of two punishments.
One of the essential principles when it comes to punishments is that if a person performs an action which involves more than one prohibition, and thus more than one punishment, he receives the more severe punishment and is exempt from the lighter one.
There are two main sources for this principle, one regarding liability to payment for damages caused by a capital transgression (אין אדם מת ומשלם – see Kesubos 36b), and one regarding liability to payment for damages caused by corporal transgressions (אין אדם לוקה ומשלם- see Makkos 13b)
There is a debate as to whether the former principle replies only to transgressions subject to death by the courts, or whether it also applies to transgressions subject to כרת , with רבי נחוניה בן הקנה holding that כרת treated like a death penalty in this respect (as recalled from daf 29a.)
The Mishna at the bottom of Pesachim 31b says that if a person eats chametz תרומה on pesach unknowingly, he pays both the principle and the fine, but if he does so intentionally, he is exempt not only from the penalty (which only applies for unknowing transgression), but also for the principle.
After much discussion regarding why this is so, the Gemara on daf 32a seems to conclude that the mishna reflects the view of רבי נחוניא בן הקנה, who holds that the rule that one who is liable to death for an action is exempt from monetary obligations that come from the same action applies also to someone liable to כרת.
Seeing as one who eats chametz on Pesach intentionally is liable to כרת, he cannot also be liable to compensate the kohain.
While certainly not the last word in the debate, a סתם משנה (anonymous Mishna with no debate) that supports this view certainly could add to its weight, unless there is a later Mishna which debates the matter (סתם ואחר כך מחלוקת), something we shall have to keep our eyes open for!
In various posts on the subject (see post on Shabbos 72 for background), we have discussed the rule pertaining to someone who intends to perform an action on a permitted item and lands up performing it on a forbidden one.
For example, one who intends to cut something detached from the ground on shabbos and lands up cutting something attached, or one who intends to eat permitted fats and lands up eating forbidden fats.
We saw the general rule that when it comes to shabbos, one is exempt for such actions due to requirement for מלאכת מחשבת (significant and calculated melacha), and when it comes to actions one derives pleasure for, such as forbidden fats (or forbidden sexual relations), one is liable.
There is a degree of unclarity as to what happens with prohibitions that one does not derive pleasure from but are not shabbos related, though Chazal did seem to derive a general exemption for מתעסק from the words “וחטא בה” (Kerisos 19a.)
We also saw a dispute between Rashi and Tosfos regarding what type of מתעסק one is exempt from on shabbos.
Rashi understood the exemption to pertain only to one who intends to cut one item that he knows to be detached but whose hand slips and lands up cutting a different item which was attached.
However, if he intends to cut a certain item thinking it is detached, and after successfully doing so, realized that the same item had been attached, he could be liable.
In contrast, Tosfos holds that the main discussion centers around the later case, and that in the former case, one would be exempt even if he had intended to cut an attached item but landed up cutting a different attached item!
On daf 32-33, there is much discussion about the prohibition of מעילה, deriving benefit from הקדש ( sanctified things), something we also touched on earlier (post on Pesachim 25-26) in discussing הנאה הבאה לאדם בעל כרחיה .
One of the things discussed is the source brought in a Beraisa for exempting one who performed מעילה intentionally from the required sacrifice, namely the words in the verse “וחטאה בשגגה”
The Beraisa immediately asks why a special source is required regarding מעילה, where more serious intentional transgressions for which one is liable to כרת also do not require a קרבן.
It responds that from a different perspective, מעילה is actually more serious than the other prohibitions, and there are various versions in the Gemara as to what precisely the Beraisa says and means.
Two views, those of מר בריה דרבנא and רב נחמן בר יצחק relate directly to the sugya of מתעסק and indeed portray it from a different angle.
The former claims that מעילה is stricter than other prohibitions in that one is liable even בלא מתכוין (without intention.)
For example, whereas if one intends to tear a detached item on shabbos and lands up cutting an attached item, he is exempt, if one intended to warm oneself with regular wool and landed up warming himself with wool from an animal set aside for a burnt offering, he is liable.
We note that:
- As expected, both Rashi and Tosfos explain the case of מתעסק in shabbos and with מעילה consistently with their explanations elsewhere
- The Gemara seems to take it as given that shabbos is only an example of the exemption but that it applies to all other prohibitions as well, other than מעילה, and Rashi actually brings both the source of מלאכת מחשבת regarding Shabbos and “וחטא בה” regarding other mitzvos, noting that there is no such מעוט (exclusion) regarding מעילה.
- No mention is made here of the fact that we have seen in other sugyot on the subject that prohibitions that one derives pleasure from (presumably most prohibitions) also produce liability even for מתעסק.
- Although this indeed seems to be the classic definition of מתעסק in the sugyas we have studied (at least according to Rava), The phrase מתעסק is not used by מר בריה דרבנא but rather the phrase אין מתכוין .
In contrast, רב נחמן בר יצחק explains that מעילה is stricter than other mitzvos in that one is liable for מתעסק in the case of מעילה unlike in other mitzvos where one is exempt.
He gives the example of one who intends to lift a detached item on shabbos and lands up tearing an attached item, who is exempt, as opposed to one who puts his hand into a vessel containing oil of הקדש (consecrated oil) intending simply to remove an item from it but lands up annointing his finger in the oil, who is liable.
We note that:
- Unlike מר בריה דרבנא, רב נחמן בר יצחק does refer to the phrase מתעסק as opposed to אין מתכוין.
- רב נחמן בר יצחק gives examples of מתעסק according to Abaya in the other sugyas we have studied, as Rashi explains, where one intends to do a permitted act (lifting) and lands up performing a forbidden act (tearing), seemingly agreeing with Abaya that in the case referred to by מר בריה דרבנא, this would be considered like regular שוגג even on shabbos and one would be liable.
The above observations could be invaluable in understanding the different views regarding howמתעסק works and how it relates to דבר שאין מתכוין and הנאה הבאה לאדם בע”כ.
Hopefully we shall have a chance to return to them soon!
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.