Our gemara discusses a case of a Bet Din repealing the gezeira of an
earlier Bet Din, forbidding the use of Maklos (sticks, which were k'li
she'Melachto le'Heter), because it was possible to use one's arms to strip
the skin from the Korban Pesach.
I thought that a Bet Din never enacted gezeiros that were too strict and would be difficult for most of the people to observe? Here it seems they enacted a gezeira, and only later realized that it was too strict, and repealed it. I'm familiar with many places in Shas that say that the Beis Din did NOT make that gezeira because most people would find it too difficult to observe. Do I have the description of this case right?, and if so, are there any other cases like this in Shas that you're aware of?
In either case, I find that I'm left with 2 questions:
1) How could this later Beis Din repeal something from a former Beis Din?; I thought that it was never done because, in order to repeal an ealier gezeira, the later Beis Din would have larger in number and greater in wisdom, and it wasn't done because it might appear as a "chutzpa". and,
2) If certain gezeirot become too harsh in later generations, and later Batay Din can repeal them, were there any cases of the? later Batei Din of the Rishonim (or others) repealing them? What about the (theoretical) possibility today of the repeal of certain gezeirot that have become "too difficult" for the masses to observe?
1. The Gemara does not say that the earlier enactments of Muktzah (such as the decree prohibiting the sticks to be handled) were repealed because they were too strict and people were unable to abide by them. If they were too difficult to observe (or even if they would have become too difficult to observe), then the initial Beis Din certainly would have been aware of this and would never have made the decree to begin with. (What we wrote in the Review Questions and Answers was a speculative approach to answer another difficulty and needs to be redressed; see Insights 124:1 for other answers to that difficulty.)
The Gezeirah of Muktzah differs from other Gezeiros in that the earlier decrees were made specifically for a temporary period of time, and for a specific and temporary reason (to strengthen the observance of Shabbos). The Beis Din that enacted the earlier decrees did so on condition that when the people reached an appropriate level of respect for and observance of Shabbos, the Beis Din would be able to repeal those decrees (or a later Beis Din). This is clear from Tosfos in Bava Kama (94a).
Alternatively, the decree of Muktzah was rescinded by the very Beis Din that enacted it, a few years later, when they saw that people began to observe Shabbos more meticulously.
2. There is no such thing as a Gezeirah that later became too difficult for the masses to observe that was repealed by a later Beis Din. We do find the concept of a "Gezeirah that a majority of the people are unable to observe," but in such a case it is the Beis Din that is enacting that Gezeirah which decides not to enforce it, and not a later Beis Din that decides to repeal it. This is clear from the Gemara in Bava Basra 60b and other places.