Once again, hello from South Florida.
This is a general question regarding the perek of Kol Kisvei and I have not seen anyone mention it.
If some one's house were on fire and he would extinguish the fire, would that by definition be a melochoh sh'eiyno tzrichah l'gufah. He is not doing it to make p'chamim. And yet from the way the perek is going, it seems like we are taking for granted that putting out the fire is an issur Torah!
Is this addressed anywhere or am I completely off in my question?
keep up the great work.
Dear Rabbi Kornfeld
The whole Perek of Kol Kitvei deals with Rabbinical decrees in case of a fire, lest someone mistakenly extinguish the candle. But extinguishing a fire to prevent damage is only a Melacha Sheeno Tzarich Legoofo. Isn't this an example of Gezera l'Gezera.
Your question is an excellent one, and it is addressed by the SEFAS EMES, who offers three answers.
(a) The Sefas Emes cites the Pri Megadim (OC 334:3) who says that this Mishnah must be going according to Rebbi Yehudah, who maintains that one who does a Melachah sh'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah is Chayav.
(b) However, saying that the Mishnayos and Gemara in this Perek are only according to Rebbi Yehudah means that the Halachah will be entirely different according to the way we rule, since we rule like Rebbi Shimon. The Pri Megadim therefore explains that Rebbi Shimon agrees to these Mishnayos, but for a different reason. The Gezeirah was not that the Rabanan feared that one might extinguish the fire, but that one might carry the objects in Reshus ha'Rabim (and thus the Gezeirah is to prevent a transgression of an Isur d'Oraisa).
The Sefas Emes questions this answer, since it is Rava who gives the reason that since a person is "Bahul Al Mamono" and he might extinguish the fire. Rava himself rules like Rebbi Shimon, so he should have said that the reason is because we are afraid that one might carry in Reshus ha'Rabim and not that he might extinguish the fire.
(c) The Sefas Emes cites the ME'IRI who answers that the Rabanan were certain that a person trying to save his belongings from a fire will extinguish the fire. Since that eventuality is a certainty, the Gezeirah that the Rabanan enacted (that one may carry out only a limited quantity of items) was made to prevent that certainty from occuring, and thus it was a single Gezeirah (i.e. a person may not save his belongings and extinguish a fire ).
Be well, and keep your excellent questions coming!