QUESTION: The Rabanan prohibited eating fruit that fell from a tree ("Peros ha'Noshrin") out of concern that one might mistakenly assume that he is permitted to pick fruit directly from the tree.
Why was it necessary for the Rabanan to make such a Gezeirah? Even without that Gezeirah, fruit that fell from a tree should be prohibited because it is Muktzah. Fruit that was attached to a tree when Shabbos (or Yom Tov) arrived is Muktzah Machmas Isur because an Isur (the Melachah of Kotzer) prevented the fruit from being picked.
The Gemara's secondary application of the Gezeirah -- to the case of an egg laid on Yom Tov -- is logical, because the egg was not attached to the ground nor prohibited by any Melachah before it was laid, and thus the only reason to prohibit the egg is the Gezeirah of "Peros ha'Noshrin." Why, though, did the Rabanan apply the primary Gezeirah of "Peros ha'Noshrin" to fruit that fell from a tree on Shabbos or Yom Tov, if such fruit is prohibited anyway because of Muktzah?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Gezeirah, and Shabbos 122a, DH Eini) suggests that perhaps this Gezeirah was enacted only according to Rebbi Shimon, who does not apply the concept of "Migo d'Iskatza'i" as long as a person anticipates that the object will become accessible at some point on Shabbos (or Yom Tov). Since one expects fruit to fall from the tree on Shabbos, that fruit does not become Muktzah irrevocably for the entire day at the onset of Shabbos.
However, RASHI (24b, DH vela'Erev) writes that even Rebbi Shimon agrees that an object which was attached to the ground or to a tree at the onset of Shabbos or Yom Tov remains Muktzah.
(b) TOSFOS gives another answer based on the Gemara in Pesachim (56b) which says that even dates at the top of a tree are not Muktzah Machmas Isur when the owner of the tree owns ravens and intends for his birds to eat the dates. Since he intends to derive benefit from the dates on Shabbos or Yom Tov in a permitted manner (without having to pick them), the dates are considered "Muchan" and do not become Muktzah (see Rashi to Pesachim 56b, DH v'Chi Teima). Therefore, such fruit that falls from the tree would have been permitted if not for the Gezeirah of "Peros ha'Noshrin."
(Even though the person himself cannot derive personal benefit from dates while they are attached to a tree, it suffices that his birds are able to derive benefit from them in order for the dates to be considered "prepared" for use on Shabbos. The Gemara in Pesachim (ibid.) and later in Beitzah (6b) says that when a person knows that an object is fit for his animals and he has in mind before Shabbos to use it on Shabbos for his animals, he also considers the possibility that it might become fit for himself at some point on Shabbos. Therefore, the principle of "Migo d'Iskatza'i" does not apply to prohibit him from eating the fruit if it falls from the tree.)
(c) The RAMBAN in Shabbos (144b, see Insights to Beitzah 2:5:d) says that an object is not Muktzah Machmas Isur until one actively sets aside the object from use on Yom Tov. Accordingly, fruit that falls from a tree might not be considered Muktzah according to the Ramban, since one did not actively set aside that fruit. Similarly, according to the BA'AL HA'ME'OR, who posits that when one knows that an object will become fit to eat later on Shabbos the rule of "Migo d'Iskatza'i" does not apply (see Insights to Beitzah 2:5:c), the type of fruit that usually falls from its tree every day should be permitted if not for the Gezeirah of "Peros ha'Noshrin."
OPINIONS: The Gemara cites two more opinions (in addition to those of Rav Nachman and Rabah) to explain why an egg laid on Yom Tov is prohibited according to Beis Hillel. Rav Yosef maintains that it is prohibited because it is included in the Gezeirah of "Peros ha'Noshrin." The Rabanan prohibited eating fruit that fell from a tree ("Peros ha'Noshrin") on Yom Tov out of concern that one might mistakenly assume that he is permitted to pick fruit directly from the tree.
Rebbi Yitzchak maintains that the egg is prohibited because it is included in the Gezeirah of "Mashkin she'Zavu." The Rabanan prohibited juices that flowed from a fruit on Yom Tov, lest one think that he is permitted to squeeze a fruit in order to extract its juice.
Why, though, are the acts of picking a fruit from a tree and squeezing the juice from a fruit forbidden on Yom Tov? The Torah permits Melachah performed for Ochel Nefesh, food preparation, on Yom Tov (see Shemos 12:16). The Melachos of picking a fruit (Ketzirah) and squeezing a fruit (Sechitah) should be permitted since they are Melachos performed for Ochel Nefesh. Why do these Gezeiros apply to Yom Tov if the Melachos they prevent one from performing are Melachos of Ochel Nefesh?
This question relates to a more general issue. When the Torah permits Melachos of Ochel Nefesh on Yom Tov, exactly which Melachos does it permit?
(a) Some Rishonim write that every Melachah that involves food preparation (including Ketzirah and Sechitah) is permitted by the Torah on Yom Tov. The Rabanan, however, enacted that certain Melachos are prohibited even though they involve food preparation.
1. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Yom Tov 1:5-8) writes that the Rabanan prohibited any Melachah that could have been done on Erev Yom Tov without diminishing the quality of the food. The purpose for this decree is to ensure that people enjoy the Yom Tov and experience Simchas Yom Tov. This decree prevents them from postponing, until Yom Tov, all of the work they needed to do in their fields.
The RA'AVAD, who agrees with the Rambam, gives a slightly different reason for why the Rabanan did not want a person to leave all of his work until Yom Tov. To engage in excessive toil on Yom Tov is not respectful to the Yom Tov (see Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 24:12), and thus the Rabanan prohibited leaving one's work in the field until Yom Tov. The Ra'avad adds that picking fruit from a tree should not be prohibited for this reason, since produce is usually more fresh on the day it is picked and thus it is not an act which can be done before Yom Tov. Nevertheless, the Rabanan included this act in their decree. (The Yerushalmi bases the prohibition on an Asmachta in the verse; see (c) below.)
(It should be noted that when the Rambam and Ra'avad say that the Rabanan prohibited a Melachah of Ochel Nefesh which could have been done before Yom Tov without diminishing the food's quality, they refer to the general category of Melachah. That is, in order to determine whether a certain Melachah is one which could have been done before Yom Tov without diminishing the food's quality, the Rabanan inquired whether the general category of Melachah is one which usually needs to be done on the same day the food will be consumed, or whether the Melachah can be done a day earlier without impairing the quality of the food. The Rabanan did not judge the specific act that one wants to do. Therefore, if a Melachah usually can be done a day earlier without diminishing the quality of the food, then even if this specific act must be done today it is still prohibited.
2. TOSFOS in Shabbos (95a, DH veha'Rodeh, and as quoted by the RASHBA there) and the ROSH here (3:1) explain that the Rabanan prohibited certain acts on Yom Tov because they are acts normally done on the weekday ("Uvda d'Chol"). The Rosh defines an act that is normally done on the weekday as any act which is usually done in order to prepare food many days in advance. (Whether a Melachah fits this category or not is judged by looking at the Melachah in general and not by looking at each specific act, as mentioned above.) This description of which Melachos the Rabanan prohibited is similar to the Rambam's description. The difference between the two is that the Rambam says that the Rabanan prohibited a Melachah that could be done earlier, while the Rosh says that the Rabanan prohibited a Melachah that is usually done earlier.
The Gemara here teaches that the Rabanan prohibited fruit that fell from a tree and juice that flowed from fruit in order to prevent one from thinking that he is permitted to pick a fruit from a tree or to extract juice from a fruit on Yom Tov. Even though the prohibition of picking a fruit or extracting its juice itself is only mid'Rabanan on Yom Tov (and the Rabanan do not enact a Gezeirah to safeguard another Gezeirah), there is a situation in which these Melachos are mid'Oraisa on Yom Tov. The RASHBA in Shabbos (95a, in the name of Tosfos) explains that if one picks a fruit immediately before nightfall at the end of Yom Tov, his Melachah is not done in order to eat the fruit on Yom Tov but in order to eat it after Yom Tov, and thus his act is forbidden mid'Oraisa (Pesachim 46b). Alternatively, the Rabanan prohibited a fruit that fell from a tree lest one pick a fruit that will be edible only the next day, or lest one pick something that the Torah prohibits him from eating. In these cases there is no allowance of Ochel Nefesh on Yom Tov.
(b) RASHI (23b) writes, like the Rambam, that any Melachah which can be done before Yom Tov is prohibited on Yom Tov. However, Rashi implies that it is prohibited mid'Oraisa and not just mid'Rabanan as the Rambam maintains. That is the reason that one cannot pick fruit on Yom Tov.
The RAMBAN (in Milchamos, 23b) rejects Rashi's opinion. He asks that according to Rashi one should be permitted to pick fruit on Yom Tov when that fruit would spoil if picked before Yom Tov!
Perhaps Rashi maintains that all categories of Melachah which are normally done before Yom Tov are prohibited, as the Rambam and Ra'avad maintain (as mentioned above). Since most fruits remain fresh for at least a day after they are picked, one is prohibited from picking any fruit on Yom Tov, even a fruit of a type which will not remain fresh when picked a day earlier. Conversely, any category of Melachah for Ochel Nefesh which is normally not done before Yom Tov is permitted.
This also answers the question of TOSFOS (3a, DH Gezeirah)on Rashi's explanation from the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah regarding "Machshirei" Ochel Nefesh. Rebbi Yehudah and the Chachamim (28b) argue whether Machshirei Ochel Nefesh (secondary acts of food preparation, such as sharpening a skewer in order to roast meat on it) may be done on Yom Tov if they could not have been done the day before. The Gemara explains that even according to Rebbi Yehudah, who permits such acts, if the Machshirei Ochel Nefesh could have been done the day before, it is not permitted to be peerformed on Yom Tov. This is learned from a Pasuk. According to Rashi's explanation one may ask, why is it necessary to learn this distinction from a Pasuk? If even Melachos of first-hand food preparation are not permitted on Yom Tov if they could have been done before Yom Tov, certainly Machshirin, which involve more indirect food preparation, are not permitted on Yom Tov if they could have been done before Yom Tov!
The answer to this question is that we learn from the verse to be more stringent with regard to Machshirin than with regard to Ochel Nefesh. Melachah for Ochel Nefesh is permitted as long as it falls into a category of Melachah that normally cannot be done the previous day. But Melachah for Machshirei Ochel Nefesh is permitted only if the specific act that one is doing cannot be done before Yom Tov.
(c) Other Rishonim explain that implications in the verse, "Ach Asher Ye'achel l'Chol Nefesh" (Shemos 12:16), the verse which discusses Melachah on Yom Tov, exclude various Melachos from the allowance to perform Melachah for Ochel Nefesh.
1. TOSFOS (3a, DH Gezeirah, and 23b, DH Ein) cites the Yerushalmi (Beitzah 1:10) that derives from the verse that the Melachos of Kotzer (harvesting), Tochen (grinding), and Meraked (sifting) are not included in the allowance of Ochel Nefesh. According to another opinion in the Yerushalmi, the verse teaches that any Melachah which precedes Lishah (kneading) in the order of food preparation may not be done on Yom Tov. (According to the RAMBAN in Milchamos, the two opinions in the Yerushalmi agree about which Melachos the verse excludes from the allowance of Ochel Nefesh. According to the RASHBA (Shabbos 95a), they argue only about the specific Melachah of Borer.) Tosfos adds that Tzeidah (trapping) is also prohibited even though it is done for food preparation, since it is similar to Kotzer. Hence, when the Torah excludes Kotzer from the allowance of Ochel Nefesh, it also excludes Tzeidah. According to this approach, both Sechitah (extracting juice), which is the Melachah of Mefarek, and Ketzirah (picking fruits) are prohibited mid'Oraisa on Yom Tov.
However, this explanation seems to contradict the Gemara in Shabbos (95a) which says that according to Rebbi Eliezer, one who makes cheese on Yom Tov is liable for the Melachah d'Oraisa of Boneh (building). Rashi explains that he is liable because he could have made the cheese the day before Yom Tov. According to Tosfos, why should he be liable? Only Melachos which come before Lishah are forbidden; Boneh comes after Lishah, and therefore it should be permitted when done for Ochel Nefesh.
Tosfos in Megilah (7b) answers this question by stating an additional rule: any Melachah which, when done before Yom Tov, produces a better-tasting food may not be done on Yom Tov. Cheese tastes better when made before Yom Tov (the older the cheese, the better its taste), and therefore making it on Yom Tov is forbidden mid'Oraisa. (Alternatively, the Gemara in Shabbos refers to making cheese on Yom Tov at a time when one will not be able to eat it until after Yom Tov.)
2. The RAMBAN (in Milchamos to 23b) and the RASHBA (Shabbos 95a) cite the Yerushalmi (ibid.) and explain that the Yerushalmi does not refer only to the Melachos which it lists. Rather, it also includes any act which is not a Melachah of food preparation. According to this explanation, the Yerushalmi includes any act which is done in the process of food preparation many days in advance is forbidden, because it is not considered an act of making food ready to eat but rather an act of making a storehouse of food. In addition, any Melachah which does not make food edible but merely makes it available (such as Kotzer, harvesting, or Tzeidah, trapping) is not considered a Melachah necessary for food preparation and is forbidden.
The Ramban and Rashba differ from the Rishonim cited in (a) above. According to the Ramban and Rashba, whether or not a Melachah is permitted on Yom Tov is not determined by whether the Melachah in general is one which makes a food edible, but rather by whether the specific act that is being done is an act which makes food edible.
(d) Other Rishonim derive from "Kol Meleches Avodah Lo Sa'asu" (Vayikra 23:7), the verse which teaches the prohibition of Melachah on Yom Tov, that certain Melachos are forbidden mid'Oraisa on Yom Tov even though they involve food preparation.
1. The RAMBAN (in Milchamos ibid.) suggests that the words "Meleches Avodah" ("a Melachah of labor") exclude any category of Melachah which, although it involves food preparation, is not done to make food edible (this is the same as (c:2) above).
2. Similarly, the MAGID MISHNEH (Hilchos Yom Tov 1:5) writes that "Meleches Avodah" refers to a Melachah which one usually delegates to his servant. Melachos which are done to prepare food for many days in advance are forbidden because one usually delegates such Melachos to his servant.