SWEEPING THE FLOOR ON SHABBOS OR YOM TOV
Mishnah: R. Gamliel was lenient to allow sweeping the dining area on Yom Tov.
Beraisa: We may not sweep the dining area on Yom Tov; R. Gamliel's household did so.
R. Eliezer bar Tzadok: They did not! I often entered R. Gamliel's house on Yom Tov. They swept on Erev Yom Tov, and spread sheets on the floor. When guests came on Yom Tov, they removed the sheets and automatically the house was swept.
Chachamim: If so, this would be permitted even on Shabbos!
Shabbos 29b: Avin of Tzipori dragged a bench on a stone floor of an Aliyah (upper story) in front of R. Yitzchak ben Elazar.
R. Yitzchak: This is forbidden. We decree about a stone floor of an Aliyah on account of a regular Aliyah (with a dirt floor, for dragging could make a furrow).
95a: Ameimar permitted Zilsa (to sprinkle water on the floor) in Mechuza (all the houses had stone floors).
Ameimar: Chachamim forbade this lest one even out depressions (in a dirt floor). In this city there are no depressions.
Beraisa: On Shabbos, if one wants to Merabetz his house (sprinkle water on the floor), he takes a bowl of water, washes his face in one corner, his hands in another corner, and his feet in another corner. In this way, he is Merabetz the entire house.
Beraisa: The wife or daughter of a Chacham may Merabetz the house on Shabbos (she can wash different utensils in different parts of the house).
Nowadays, we hold like R. Shimon (who permits Davar she'Eino Miskaven), so one may directly Merabetz.
124b - R. Aba: On Shabbos one may not move a broom made from a date branch (it is a Keli she'Melachto l'Isur, for it is used for sweeping).
R. Elazar: Even a date broom is permitted.
Suggestion: They argue about moving it from the sun to the shade.
Rejection: R. Elazar would not permit this regarding a date branch!
Correction: Rather, it should say 'also R. Elazar forbids.'
140b - Mishnah - R. Dosa: One may sweep in front of an animal being fattened (so its food will not get mixed with dirt);
Rav Chisda: They argue about a feeding trough with a dirt floor; if it is a Keli, all permit sweeping.
Objection: No one would permit sweeping a dirt floor, for this evens out holes!
Correction (Rav Chisda): They argue about a Keli; if it is a dirt floor, all forbid.
Pesachim 65a - Mishnah: (When Erev Pesach was on Shabbos, Kohanim washed the floor of the Azarah;) Chachamim disapproved.
Question: Which Chachamim disapproved?
Answer #1 (Rav Chisda): R. Eliezer would object, but Chachamim say that it is only Shevus, which does not apply in the Mikdash;
Beraisa - R. Eliezer: If one swept or was Merabetz on Shabbos b'Shogeg, he is Chayav Chatas; if he did so on Yom Tov b'Mezid, he gets 40 lashes;
Chachamim say, this is only Shevus on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
Answer #2 (Rav Ashi): Even Chachamim (of that Beraisa) disapproved. Our Mishnah is like R. Noson:
Beraisa - R. Noson: Chachamim permitted (in the Mikdash) only Shevus necessary for the Avodah.
The Rif and Rosh (Shabbos 36a and 10:3) cite the Gemara which permits to Merabetz l'Chatchilah (even a dirt floor) because the Halachah follows R. Shimon regarding Davar she'Eino Miskaven.
Rif (48a): Nowadays that we hold like R. Shimon, a broom made from a date branch is a Keli she'Melachto l'Heter.
Rebuttal (Ba'al ha'Ma'or): Even R. Shimon forbids sweeping, for it is a Pesik Reishei that one will even out holes. R. Eliezer is Mechayev for sweeping and Merabetz, and Chachamim say that it is only Shevus (Pesachim 65a). Chachamim argue only about Merabetz, but they agree that one is liable for sweeping.
Defense (of Rif - Milchamos Hash-m): The Rif has a Kabalah from Ge'onim that the Gemara means that nowadays that we hold like R. Shimon, even sweeping is permitted. Surely, one does not even out holes every time he sweeps, or even most times. In Beitzah (22b), R. Gamliel permitted sweeping on Yom Tov. He would not do so if it was a Pesik Reishei! In a Teshuvah, the Rif explained that the Chachamim who argued there hold like R. Yehudah.
Question (Ba'al ha'Ma'or): Shmuel permits to partially clear out a storehouse, like R. Shimon who permits Muktzah, nevertheless one may not totally empty it, lest he even out holes (Shabbos 127a)!
Answer #1 (Milchamos Hash-m): A storehouse is full of holes made by vermin that burrow for food, so it is a Pesik Reishei that emptying it will even out holes. This is why all forbid to sweep a dirt floor where an animal's food is put (140b). There are holes, and he sweeps to even them so the food will not mix with thorns and filth.
Answer #2 (Milchamos Hash-m): We are concerned lest he intentionally even out holes which he did not see until he emptied out the storehouse. In many places we are concerned lest one who wants an even surface intentionally even it out, i.e. moving beams of a loom (113a), storing food in a pit, playing with nuts (Eruvin 104a), and standing up a barrel on the ground (141a).
Rebuttal (Ba'al ha'Ma'or): The Gemara (124b) could not fathom that R. Elazar (the Amora) would consider a broom to be a Keli she'Melachto l'Heter. We must say that even R. Shimon forbids it.
Answer (Milchamos Hash-m): The Gemara knew that if R. Elazar held like R. Shimon, he would have explicitly permitted sweeping.
Rosh (ibid., citing BaHaG): One may sweep the house for the same reason one may Merabetz.
Rebuttal Rosh (ibid.): A broom made from a date branch is Muktzah (124b). This shows that it is forbidden to sweep; the reason is because he moves dirt from its place.
Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 21:3): It is forbidden to sweep the ground unless it is tiled with stones. Merabetz is permitted. We are not concerned lest he even out holes in the ground, for he does not intend to. One may not wash even a stone floor even on Yom Tov, all the more so on Shabbos. He may not do like he does on a weekday lest he even out holes in a place with a dirt floor.
Magid Mishnah: The Rambam understands that 'Zilsa' (Shabbos 95a) is to Merabetz after sweeping. Ameimar did not permit in a city with dirt floors because of the sweeping. Because the Halachah follows R. Shimon, just to Merabetz would be permitted anywhere, since he does not intend to even the floor, only to prevent the dust from rising. Alternatively, Ameimar himself permitted only to Merabetz. We hold like R. Shimon, so we permit to Merabetz anywhere, and to sweep where there are no dirt floors.
Question: The Kohanim used to wash the Azarah when Erev Pesach was on Shabbos (Pesachim 65a). Surely it was not a Pesik Reishei that this will even out holes, for even R. Shimon forbids this! If so, why does R. Eliezer Mechayev Chatas?
Answer (Tosfos Pesach 65a DH ha'Mechaved): It was not a Pesik Reishei. R. Eliezer holds that one who sweeps or washes intends to even out holes, therefore he is liable if he evens out a hole. Chachamim hold that he does not intend, so it is only Shevus.
Question: The Azarah was tiled with stones, washing cannot be more stringent than Shevus. Further, it should be totally permitted, just like Ameimar permitted Mechuzah for there were no dirt floors there!
Answer (Tosfos ibid.): Perhaps washing will even out holes between the stones. Alternatively, since R. Eliezer forbids washing a dirt floor mid'Oraisa, he decrees not to wash a stone floor. Sometimes Shevus is forbidden in the Mikdash, but only if in some cases it is forbidden mid'Oraisa outside the Mikdash.
Shulchan Aruch (OC 337:1): Davar she'Eino Miskaven is permitted (on Shabbos) as long as it is not a Pesik Reishei. Therefore one may sprinkle water on the floor, since he does not intend to even out holes, only to prevent dust from getting blown up.
Shulchan Aruch (ibid. 2): It is forbidden to sweep the floor unless it is tiled.
Mishnah Berurah (6,7): Some say that it is a Pesik Reishei that he will even out holes. Others are concerned lest amidst zeal to tidy the floor he intentionally even out holes. It is permitted regarding a floor tiled with stones or planks.
Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) Some permit even if it is not tiled.
Question: Sweeping moves dirt, pebbles and shells that are Muktzah!
Answer #1 (Rashba, brought in Magid Mishnah ibid.): They are like Geraf Shel Re'i (a potty; it may be moved because it is offensive).
Answer #2 (Beis Yosef DH v'Chosvu Sham): Chachamim permitted Tiltul Min ha'Tzad (through something else) for the sake of Kavod Yom Tov.
The Ra'avad (brought in Shiltei ha'Giborim Shabbos 36a:6) permits to sweep only crumbs and things fitting for animals, but not inedible shells or pebbles.
Kaf ha'Chayim (11): The Heter applies only to a room in which he dwells.
Rema: Some forbid even if it is tiled. This is our custom, and one should not deviate.
Beis Yosef (DH Kasuv ba'Sefer): Sefer ha'Terumah forbids even a tiled floor lest one even out holes in grooves between the tiles; alternatively, this is a decree lest one sweep a dirt floor.
Taz (2): The stringent opinion holds that for a dirt floor it is a Pesik Reishei that holes will be evened out, so we decree to forbid even a tiled floor.
Bi'ur Halachah (DH Asur): One need not be stringent if most houses in the city are tiled, especially if he swept before Shabbos, for then the Ra'avad permits even a dirt floor. (It is not a Pesik Reishei that he will even out holes.)
Rema: One may have a Nochri sweep his floor.
Magen Avraham (3): Yam Shel Shlomo forbids even through a Nochri. The custom is to be lenient.
Kaf ha'Chayim (14): Something forbidden because it is a Pesik Reishei may be done through a Nochri.
Rema: Also, one may sweep with a garment, rag or light goose feather which does not even out holes. One may not brush garments using a brush with bristles, lest the bristles break.
Question (Beis Yosef ibid.): Those who forbid sweeping hold that even R. Shimon forbids to move dirt. If so, it should be forbidden even with a rag!
Answer #1 (Darchei Moshe 1): (Sweeping is forbidden lest one even out holes.) There is no concern regarding a rag, for it only removes the dirt on top.
Answer #2 (Shiltei ha'Giborim ibid.): Some forbid sweeping for it is a Pesik Reishei that bristles of the broom will break. This does not apply to a rag.
Question (Taz 3): Even if the bristles break, this is Mekalkel, which is exempt!