1) CARRYING A WALLET ON SHABBOS THROUGH "RESHUS HA'RABIM"
QUESTION: The Gemara relates an incident in which a Jew and a Nochri were together on a boat. The Jew heard the sound of the Shofar, signaling that Shabbos was about to begin, and he immediately disembarked, leaving his wine behind on the boat. Rava ruled that the wine left with the Nochri did not become prohibited, because the Nochri expects the Jew to return at any moment and thus he refrains from touching the wine. Even though the Nochri knows that it is Shabbos, he assumes that the Jew will not observe the laws of Shabbos but will return to get his wine. Rava proves that this is what Nochrim think from the statement of Isur Giyora (a convert), who attested that the Nochrim do not believe that a Jew faithfully observes Shabbos, because, the Nochrim say, if the Jews really observed Shabbos, then they would find many discarded wallets in the marketplace (since a Jew observing Shabbos would not be able to carry his wallet home). Since they do not find any wallets in the marketplace, this proves -- assert the Nochrim -- that the Jews are not meticulous with the laws of Shabbos. The Gemara points out that the Nochrim are incorrect, and their proof is invalid. The reason why no wallets are found in the marketplace on Shabbos is because we rule in accordance with the view of Rebbi Yitzchak, who permits a person to carry a wallet that he finds on Shabbos by walking in segments of less than four Amos, pausing after every segment, until he arrives at his destination (this is because the prohibition against carrying in Reshus ha'Rabim applies only to carrying four Amos or more at one time).
Rava's ruling here apparently contradicts a different ruling of Rava in the Gemara in Shabbos (153a). There, Rava states that a person may carry only his own wallet in such a manner (when he finds himself in Reshus ha'Rabim at the onset of Shabbos), but not one that he finds in Reshus ha'Rabim! How are these statements of Rava to be reconciled?
(a) The RIF, ROSH, and others have a different text in the Gemara. Their text of Rebbi Yitzchak's statement omits the words "one who finds a wallet on Shabbos may carry it less than four Amos...," and reads instead, "One may carry less than four Amos...." This is also the Girsa of the DIKDUKEI SOFRIM. Accordingly, the Gemara is saying that the Nochrim were unable to find any wallets left in the public domain by Jews who became stranded in mid-journey at the onset of Shabbos. The Nochri assumed that this was because the Jews do not really observe the laws of Shabbos. The Gemara refutes the reasoning of the Nochrim, saying that the reason no Jewish wallets are found in Reshus ha'Rabim on Shabbos is because one who is permitted to carry his own wallet less than four Amos at a time in order to prevent the loss. Rava's statement here, therefore, is the same as his statement in Shabbos.
(b) It seems from the words of the MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 266:10) that he had yet another Girsa in the Gemara. The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 266:8) writes that there are some who maintain that this leniency of carrying less than four Amos at a time applies only to one who misjudged how much time there was in the day before Shabbos and accidentally became stranded in mid-journey. It does not apply to a person who rushed out of his house immediately before Shabbos, and after Shabbos began he realized that he had inadvertently carried his wallet out to Reshus ha'Rabim. The Magen Avraham asks that this ruling is not consistent with the Gemara here in Avodah Zarah, because the Gemara here implies that "even if one mistakenly took something out of the house" on Shabbos, he may rely on this leniency. He suggests that our Gemara might be referring to a case in which the person accidentally carried his wallet, while the Shulchan Aruch is referring to a case in which the person intended to carry out his wallet, but he concludes that this needs further elucidation.
It is apparent from the Magen Avraham that he understands Rebbi Yitzchak's statement to read that someone mistakenly took out a wallet on Shabbos, and not that he found a wallet. Accordingly, the Gemara is saying that the Nochrim thought that the laws of Shabbos require that one who mistakenly carries something outside must leave it there, and yet no such object was ever found, thus proving that the Jews did not fully observe Shabbos. The Gemara's answer is that they were not aware of the ruling of Rebbi Yitzchak, that one who mistakenly takes something outside may carry it back by walking less than four Amos at a time.
(c) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 6:22, 20:7) rules that one who finds a wallet on Shabbos may carry it by walking less than four Amos at a time. The NESIV CHAIM (OC 266:7) comments that the Rambam's source for this ruling is the statement of Rava here as it appears in our text). (The Nesiv Chaim himself, though, maintains that the proper text is that of the Magen Avraham, as cited above.)
However, from the Rambam's correspondence with the CHOCHMEI LUNIL on the matter, as recorded by the MIGDAL OZ (Hilchos Shabbos 20:7), it seems evident that the Rambam's source for this ruling is not our Gemara, as he does not quote our Gemara as his source. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) A NOCHRI GIRL AMONG THE WINE
QUESTION: The Gemara relates an incident in which a Nochri girl was found among barrels of wine, and she had some wine froth on her hand. Rava says that the wine is permitted, as she probably skimmed it off the back of a barrel and did not touch the wine inside the barrel. He says that the wine is permitted even if we do not find any barrels with froth on them.
Why does Rava say that we assume that the girl did not touch the wine in the barrel? What logic is there to assume that she did not touch it?
(a) RASHI (DH "Eimar") explains that the Gemara's ruling applies only to a young girl who was not yet educated in the ceremony of pouring wine for Avodah Zarah. Rava was lenient in such a case because it is reasonable to assume that she would not exert himself to touch the wine.
(b) TOSFOS (DH ha'Hi) argues that Rava would permit the wine in the case of an older Nochri girl as well, as we do not find that there is any difference in the laws of Yayin Nesech between an older person and a younger person. He notes that even according to Rashi's explanation, nowadays there is no Halachic difference, because even older Nochrim today are not experts in pouring wine for Avodah Zarah. This is also the opinion of the RASHBA.
(c) The MIGDAL OZ (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 12:23) uses the aforementioned logic of Tosfos to defend the view of the RAMBAM. The Rambam discusses a wine-storage area where both Jews and Nochrim have space to store their wine. If the Nochri is found among the barrels of the Jewish-owned wine, and his conduct shows that he would be afraid to be caught as a thief (see end of 61b), then the wine is permitted. Due to his obvious discomfort in being in the area, we can be confident that he did not have time to pour the wine for Avodah Zarah. However, if he does not exhibit any fear upon being discovered, then the wine is forbidden. We assume that he was comfortable enough to pour the wine, making it forbidden (see 70a). The Rambam continues and says that if this situation involved a young child, then no matter what his reaction is when he is found, the wine is permitted.
The RA'AVAD argues that the same law that applies to adults applies to children, and if the child is comfortable when he is caught, we must assume that he could have poured the wine. The Migdal Oz retorts that since the Gemara itself does not make this difference (between being scared when caught and between being comfortable when caught) in the case of a young child, why should we make that difference?
However, the KESEF MISHNEH understands that there is an entirely different argument between the Rambam and the Ra'avad. The argument between the Rambam and Ra'avad is the same as the argument between Rashi and Tosfos. The Ra'avad learns -- like Tosfos and the Rashba -- that our Gemara is referring to an older girl as well, who knows about pouring wine for Avodah Zarah. The Gemara does not have to mention the difference between being caught like a thief or being comfortable, because it is an obvious difference from the case stated previously in the Gemara. This is the reason why the Ra'avad asks that there should be no difference between the case of the girl in our Gemara and the case of a regular Nochri. The Rambam, on the other hand, learns -- like Rashi -- that the Gemara is referring only to a young girl who has no reason to try and get to the wine. According to the Rambam, it is similarly obvious that there should not be any difference how the child is caught, as he has no desire to pour wine in the first place. (The LECHEM MISHNEH also understands their argument in a similar manner. However, he adds that the Rambam's omission of the novel point in the Gemara -- that the wine is permitted even though the girl has some wine froth on her hand -- is difficult to understand; see MIRKEVES HA'MISHNEH.) (Y. MONTROSE)