More Discussions for this daf
1. Maaris Ayin of unblocking a pipe 2. Mar'is ha'Ayin 3. Adnei ha'Sadeh (Insights to the Daf)
4. Meinekes

Mark Bergman asks:

The Gemoro says that unblocking a pipe KeLaacher Yad in a case of loss can only be done beTzina. Tosfos explains that unblocking the pipe KeLaacher Yad is only an Issue DeRabonon, therefore it may be done in case of loss in private, but not in public because of Maaris HaAyin.

This does not seem to be the usual Maaris Ayin, where we forbid doing an action (which should be permissible) in case people think he did some Issur. e.g. Tosfos' example of hanging up wet clothes in case people think he washed them on Shabbos [there as Tosfos says they would think he did an Issur DeOraisa, so Ossur even BeChadrei Chadorim].

Here the action of unblocking a pipe KeLeaacher Yad in case of loss is actually Mutar, so what are we afraid of?!

My guess is that we think people will not know he has a loss, or will not see he is doing it KeLeachar Yad, or will think that it is Mutar even if there is no loss or if not KeLechar Yad - but again, is this Maaris Ayin?!

Kol Tuv

Mark Bergman

The Kollel replies:

I think that you will find the answer to that in our Insights here. Enclosed is a copy of what we wrote on the matter recently.

Be well, Mordecai



QUESTION: The Gemara rules that if a gutter pipe on the roof of one's house becomes clogged, causing water to flood the roof and drip into the house, a person is permitted to kick away the debris, covertly ("b'Tzin'a," in private), in order to unclog the pipe. It is not appropriate to do so publicly, seemingly because those who might see him doing it might not realize that he is doing it in order to clear out the pipe to prevent a loss, and they will think that he is fixing his pipe on Shabbos which is Asur (because of Metaken).

There is a general rule, put forth by Rav in Beitzah (9a), that "anything that is prohibited by the Rabanan is prohibited even in the innermost chambers." The Gemara's ruling here, though, seems to contradict that rule, for it permits doing an Isur d'Rabanan in private! How can our Gemara be reconciled with that rule?


(a) A number of Rishonim rule, based on this and similar statements in the Gemara, that the Halachah does not follow Rav, and it is permitted to do something that others will think is Asur (but which is really permitted) in private but not in public. (RAV NISIM GAON, cited by Tosfos Avodah Zarah 12a DH Kol Makom and by the Rosh in Shabbos 22:9, RABEINU EFRAIM, cited by the Itur, Hilchos Yom Tov section 4, the BA'AL HA'ME'OR in Beitzah 4b and Shabbos 28b according to the pages of the Rif, the RA'AH, in Beitzah 9a)

The Rishonim prove that Rav's opinion is not accepted l'Halachah from the Yerushalmi (Kil'ayim 9:1).

(b) Most Rishonim (RIF, Shabbos 146b, RAMBAM Hilchos Shabbos 22:20, Hilchos Yom Tov 5:4, and others), though, rule in accordance with Rav's prohibition, and they differentiate between the case of our Gemara and the cases to which his rule applies. For example, the Gemara in Beitzah (9a) cites a Beraisa in which the Tana Kama permits spreading out clothes to dry in the sun on Shabbos when it is done in a private place. Spreading out clothes to dry in a public area, though, is prohibited because of "Mar'is ha'Ayin," because people will suspect that the person is not only drying his clothes on Shabbos, but that he washed his clothes on Shabbos as well. Rebbi Elazar and Rebbi Shimon prohibit spreading out one's clothes even in private, because they hold that whenever there is a concern for Mar'is ha'Ayin, the act is prohibited even in the innermost chambers of one's home.

1. TOSFOS here explains that in our Gemara, even if one is fixing his pipe in a manner that is not prohibited, he is only transgressing an Isur d'Rabanan by fixing it, since he is doing it in an unusual manner (with his foot). Therefore, the Rabanan did not prohibit it when done in private. The case in Beitzah, on the other hand, is where people will suspect that he did something that is Asur d'Oraisa , and therefore the Rabanan prohibited it even in the innermost chambers.

2. Others note that there is a basic difference between the problem of Mar'is ha'Ayin in the case in Beitzah and the Mar'is ha'Ayin in the case of our Gemara. In Beitzah, the person did not actually wash his clothes on Shabbos. Rather, the concern is that people might mistakenly conclude that since he is setting his clothes out to dry, he also washed them. In our Gemara, the person actually did fix his pipe on Shabbos, an act that might have been prohibited had he not done it to save himself from a significant loss, but people might not realize that he is doing it to prevent damage to his house. The prohibition not to do something that is Asur because of Mar'is ha'Ayin even in one's most private room applies only to the former type of Mar'is ha'Ayin -- where people think that a person is doing something other than what he is actually doing. The reason for this difference is explained differently by the Rishonim.

The RASHBA (Beitzah 9a) uses this observation to differentiate between two types of Mar'is ha'Ayin. If a person is doing a permissible act, but people who see think that it is a prohibited act, we allow it to be done in one's innermost chambers. Cleaning out the pipe to prevent a deluge in the house looks prohibited but is actually permitted. In contrast, if people who see him will suspect him of doing something that is not permitted under any circumstances, then the Rabanan are more stringent and prohibit the act even in one's innermost chambers.

3. The RAN (Beitzah 9a) also differentiates between two types of Mar'is ha'Ayin, but based on different reasoning. He says that when an act is permitted by the Torah and the Rabanan prohibited it because others will think that the person is doing something wrong, it becomes prohibited even in one's innermost chambers. In the case of our Gemara, though, the opposite logic applies. The act of cleaning a pipe is an act that is normally prohibited . Here, the Rabanan are lenient and permit cleaning the pipe in order to save the person's house and his enjoyment of Shabbos. In such a case, it was necessary for the Rabanan to permit the act, but because of "Mar'is ha'Ayin" they limited the permit to doing it in private. Prohibiting it in all cases is not an option, because they saw a necessity to permit it.

HALACHAH: Rav's Halachah is cited by the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 301:45), based on the rulings of the Rif, Rambam and others (opinion (b), above).