1) USING EARTH FOR "KISUY HA'DAM" ON YOM TOV
QUESTIONS: In the Mishnah (2a), Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue about whether one may slaughter an animal on Yom Tov l'Chatchilah when he intends to cover the blood with earth (to perform the Mitzvah of "Kisuy ha'Dam"). Beis Shamai permits one to slaughter the animal l'Chatchilah, and Beis Hillel prohibits it. However, both agree that b'Di'eved if one already slaughtered the animal, he is permitted to cover the blood with earth.
The Gemara (7b and 9b) explains that one is permitted to slaughter the animal and cover its blood with earth -- l'Chatchilah according to Beis Shamai, and b'Di'eved according to Beis Hillel -- only when a shovel was placed into the earth ("Deker Na'utz") before Yom Tov.
What prohibition does the shovel remove? Why is it necessary to insert the shovel into the ground before Yom Tov, such that without the shovel the earth may not be used for Kisuy ha'Dam on Yom Tov (l'Chatchilah according to Beis Shamai, and b'Di'eved according to Beis Hillel)?
Moreover, why does Beis Hillel permit one to use the earth for Kisuy ha'Dam only b'Di'eved and not l'Chatchilah, even when the shovel was inserted into the earth before Yom Tov? What prohibition remains after the condition of "Deker Na'utz" has been fulfilled?
(a) RASHI (9b, DH Aval Heicha) explains that without the shovel in the ground from before Yom Tov, there is a "Tzad Remez Chafirah" (a slight semblance of the act of digging). This means that although there is no act of digging (Chafirah) mid'Oraisa, the person's act still looks like an act of digging. "Deker Na'utz" removes the appearance of digging.
Rashi explains that according to Beis Hillel, who maintains that one is prohibited l'Chatchilah to use the earth for Kisuy ha'Dam even with the "Deker Na'utz," one may not dig l'Chatchilah because of a Gezeirah that perhaps, next time, he will use earth that is not soft and will crush it, thereby transgressing the Melachah of Ketishah (crushing) on Yom Tov. Therefore, l'Chatchilah one should not perform Kisuy according to Beis Hillel (the Gemara suggests a similar Gezeirah on 8b).
(b) TOSFOS (DH v'Eino) suggests that "Deker Na'utz" is necessary is in order to remove the prohibition of Muktzah. Soil is Muktzah on Yom Tov because it is not inherently prepared for any use on Yom Tov. "Deker Na'utz" shows that one has prepared the soil for use before Yom Tov.
The reason why Beis Hillel prohibits one from slaughtering an animal l'Chatchilah on Yom Tov, even though the earth is no longer Muktzah (because of "Deker Na'utz," is because the act of picking up the earth from the ground is an act of Melachah (digging) which is Mekalkel (it is not done for the sake of constructing a pit), which is Asur l'Chatchilah. Beis Shamai, though, permits this act of Mekalkel because it is being done for the sake of Simchas Yom Tov. (Simchas Yom Tov, however, does not override the problem of Muktzah, because Simchas Yom Tov cannot permit two prohibitions d'Rabanan, and therefore it is still necessary to have "Deker Na'utz" according to Beis Shamai. -MAHARSHA)
(The Gemara on 9b seems to contradict this explanation when it says that the allowance to perform Shechitah and Kisuy ha'Dam on Yom Tov when there is a "Deker Na'utz" does not derive from the Mitzvah of Simchas Yom Tov. Perhaps Tosfos agrees that the Gemara on 9b maintains that there is a different reason for why Beis Hillel prohibits slaughtering the animal l'Chatchilah -- either the reason given by Rashi (in (a) above) or the reason given by the Re'ah (in (c) below). See Insights to Beitzah 9:3 for more discussion on this issue.)
(c) The RE'AH and the RASHBA explain, like Tosfos, that "Deker Na'utz" is necessary to remove the prohibition of Muktzah. They differ with Tosfos in their reason for why Beis Hillel does not permit one to use the earth l'Chatchilah even with "Deker Na'utz." They say that even with "Deker Na'utz," the earth is not completely prepared for use on Yom Tov but only "somewhat" prepared, and it is not prepared enough to be permitted l'Chatchilah because it is still "somewhat" Muktzah.
2) "KISUY HA'DAM" ON YOM TOV FOR A "SAFEK CHAYAH"
QUESTION: The Gemara says that one may not cover the blood of an animal which is a Safek Chayah (such as a "Koy") on Yom Tov, but one may cover the blood of an animal which is a Vadai Chayah (such as a deer). What is the difference between a Safek and a Vadai Chayah? Whatever factor prohibits covering the blood of a Safek should also prohibit covering the blood of a Vadai. The Gemara suggests that covering the blood of a Safek Chayah is prohibited because of the Melachah of Ketishah (the act of crushing dirt). Ketishah is not permitted on Yom Tov for the sake of a doubtful requirement to perform Kisuy, but it is permitted for the sake of a definite requirement to perform Kisuy (because of the principle of "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh").
The simple meaning of the Gemara is that Ketishah is permitted in the case of a Vadai Chayah because of the principle of "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" -- the certain fulfillment of the Mitzvas Aseh of Kisuy ha'Dam overrides the Lo Ta'aseh of doing Melachah on Yom Tov.
However, RASHI writes that the blood may not be covered in the case of a Safek Chayah for fear that one will crush the clods of earth and transgress the Melachah of Ketishah. In the case of a Vadai Chayah, there should also be a Gezeirah d'Rabanan to prohibit Kisuy ha'Dam lest one do Ketishah. Nevertheless, the Rabanan did not prohibit Ketishah in the case of a Vadai Chayah because even if one does Ketishah he transgresses no Isur d'Oraisa; the Mitzvas Aseh of Kisuy ha'Dam overrides the Lo Ta'aseh of Melachah.
Rashi's explanation here is difficult to understand. Rashi should say that Ketishah is permitted even l'Chatchilah in the case of a Vadai Chayah because of the principle of "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh." Why does he assume that there should be an Isur d'Rabanan of Ketishah even in the case of a Vadai Chayah?
ANSWER: Perhaps Rashi's intent is to address the question of the PNEI YEHOSHUA. The Pnei Yehoshua points out that the Gemara at this stage explains the opinion of Rav Yehudah who permits the use of earth which one brought in a sack into his home or courtyard before Yom Tov. Rav Yehudah says that such earth is considered prepared for use on Yom Tov (such as for Kisuy ha'Dam). Why, then, may one not cover the blood of a Safek Chayah? It cannot be because the earth is Muktzah, because Rav Yehudah maintains that people normally keep in their homes earth that was prepared for use before Yom Tov. The Gemara suggests that the reason why one may not do Kisuy ha'Dam for a Safek Chayah is because one might transgress the Melachah of Ketishah while he handles the earth. One may do Kisuy ha'Dam for a Vadai Chayah because the Mitzvas Aseh of Kisuy ha'Dam overrides the Lo Ta'aseh of doing Melachah (Ketishah) on Yom Tov.
How can the Gemara suggest that Rav Yehudah maintains that Ketishah is permitted because of "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh," when it is Rav Yehudah himself (7b) who says that in order to permit Kisuy ha'Dam on Yom Tov, a shovel must have been inserted into the earth before Yom Tov ("Deker Na'utz") and the earth must be soft ("Afar Tichu'ach"). Rashi (7b, DH v'Ha Ka Avid) explains that Rav Yehudah maintains that "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" does not permit one to cover the blood with earth on Yom Tov in this case (either because the Aseh is not being done at the same time as the Lo Ta'aseh, or because Yom Tov is both an Aseh and a Lo Ta'aseh, as the Gemara here concludes), and that is why he requires "Deker Na'utz" and "Afar Tichu'ach" in order to permit Kisuy ha'Dam on Yom Tov.
If Rav Yehudah maintains that "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" does not apply, then how can the Gemara here explain his opinion by suggesting that the difference between a Safek and a Vadai Chayah is that for a Vadai Chayah, "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" permits Kisuy ha'Dam? Rav Yehudah maintains that "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" does not apply in this case!
This is the problem which Rashi here addresses. Rashi answers that the Gemara means that, mid'Oraisa, "Aseh Docheh Lo Ta'aseh" would apply to permit Ketishah. However, Ketishah would still be prohibited mid'Rabanan. The Rabanan decreed that an Aseh does not override a Lo Ta'aseh in this case (because the Kisuy ha'Dam can be done the following night, after Yom Tov, as the ROSH mentions). Nevertheless, one is permitted to cover the blood of a Vadai Chayah even l'Chatchilah with earth that does not need Ketishah; the Rabanan did not make a Gezeirah to prohibit Kisuy ha'Dam lest one do the Melachah of Ketishah in another instance (when he uses hard earth), because even if he does Ketishah with hard earth he transgresses only an Isur mid'Rabanan. In a case of a Safek Chayah, however, the Rabanan did make a Gezeirah lest one do the Melachah of Ketishah. (M. Kornfeld)
3) ITEMS WHICH ARE MUKTZAH FOR ONE PURPOSE BUT PERMITTED FOR ANOTHER
QUESTION: Rava concludes that "Efer Kirah" (the ashes in an oven) may be used only to cover the blood of a Vadai Chayah but not that of a Safek Chayah, because prior to Yom Tov the person designated the "Efer Kirah" only for use with a Vadai Chayah. For use with a Safek Chayah, however, it remains Muktzah.
What is the logic behind Rava's answer? Any item which is not Muktzah on Shabbos may be used for any purpose and not only for the specific purpose for which it was designated. The "Efer Kirah" is not Muktzah, since it was designated for use with a Vadai Chayah. Why, then, may it not be used for a Safek Chayah? (Although Rebbi Nechemyah in Shabbos (123a) rules that an item designated for one purpose remains Muktzah for other purposes, the Halachah does not follow his opinion.)
The Gemara later (33a) records a similar case. According to some Tana'im, wooden logs may be used as fuel for a fire on Yom Tov, but they may not be used for other purposes (such as to support a door). Why do these items, wood and "Efer Kirah," differ from all other cases of Muktzah? (CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM)
ANSWER: The difference is that all other objects are utensils (Kelim). Wood and ashes (or dirt) are not utensils, regardless of whether or not they were designated for use on Yom Tov. A utensil (Kli) that is designated for a certain use is not included in the prohibition of Muktzah and may be used for any purpose on Shabbos or Yom Tov. In contrast, an object that is not a utensil may not be used for any purpose, but only for the purpose for which it was designated. In the case of an object which is not a utensil, the Rabanan agree with Rebbi Nechemyah's logic that the object may be used only for the purpose for which it was designated.
Perhaps the reason for this difference is that a utensil does not need to be prepared for all possible uses because a person knows that it has many uses, and thus he always has in mind to use it for any need that might arise. (This is similar to the logic proposed on 6b that if an item is fit for animal food, a person does not remove from his mind the possibility of giving it to a person to eat should that possibility arise.) In the case of an object which is not a utensil, a person does not have in mind to use the object for purposes other than the one for which it was designated.