Dear Rabbi Kornfeld:
I would be most interested in any comments to the following observations re MITASEK:
Shabbat 72B: "One who intends to lift up that which is detached but instead cuts that which is attached - he is exempt (from a Korban). One who intends to cut that which is detached but instead cuts that which is attached - Rava says he is not liable, Abaye says he is liable".
Rashi explains that the first case deals with one who picks up a knife (that which is detached)and in the process cuts that which is attached. It follows that the second case, according to Rashi, deals with similar circumstances - where one intended to cut a particular detached plant but instead cut a different attached one. According to Rava he is not liable since his action was not sufficiently directed.
Rabeinu Tam argues that the case deals with one who intends to cut something that is detached but turns out to be attached. According to Rava, although his action was not misdirected, he is still not liable due to his mistaken identification of the plant being detached. Rabeinu Tam goes on to say that there are really two kinds of MITASEK: (1) One who does Mlacha on Shabbat as a result of a mistaken identification is exempt by the general law of MITASEK which applies to all Mitzvot (Asher Chata Ba). (2) One who does it as a result of a misdirected action is exempt by the Shabbat-specific law of MITASEK (Malechet Machshevet).
I believe Rashi holds that mistaken identification is not MITASEK, but rather SHGAGA and therefore liable. See supra (69B): "All agree by Terumah that one is not liable for Chomesh unless he is Shogeg in the prohibition thereof". Rashi explains that the classical Shogeg is one who thought (KiSavur) he was eating Chulim, but it turned out to be Terumah. He is a Shogeg, not a Mitasek. Also see supra (69A): "All agree by Shvuat Betuy (broken oath) that one is not liable for a Korban unless he is Shogeg in the prohibition thereof". Rashi explains that he is not liable unless he has forgotten his oath (not to eat) at the time he eats. Here again is a case of mistaken identity (he believes he has no oaths) that is considered Shogeg -- not Mitasek.
It also appears this way from the Gemora Nedarim (35A): "All who remove money (from Hekdesh) to Chulin, believing (KiSavur) that it is Chulin, are liable for sacriledge". Here again mistaken identity is considered Shogeg -- not Mitasek.
Your explanation of Rashi is very good. Thank you for the additional Mekoros.
We also learned the way you did. See Chart #14 (Daf 73a), row 3b, with footnote (7), which we have included below.
We should just mention that even Tosfos agrees that this is considered Shogeg (see Tosfos at the end of 69a). The second form of Misasek, for which Rabeinu Tam says one is Patur only in Hilchos Shabbos, is when one had intention to do a forbidden Melachah and he ended up doing another forbidden Melachah (see 3a on chart below).
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Shabbos Chart #14
_____________________________________ BRINGING A "KORBAN" FOR UNINTENTIONAL TRANSGRESSION OF SHABBOS _____________________________________ (A) (B) RASHI(1) TOSFOS(2) ________ _________ 1) INTENDED TO PERFORM ANOTHER ACTION Patur Patur ENTIRELY ("Mis'asek b'Ma'aseh Acher:" e.g. tried to pick up a knife, and cut a grape instead) 2) INTENDED TO PERFORM THE SAME ACTION Rava : Patur Patur IN A MANNER THAT IS PERMITTED Abaye: Chayav ("Shnei Gufin, v'Echad me'Hem shel Heter:" e.g. he wanted to cut a grape from a detached cluster, and he picked a grape from a cluster that was still attached)(3) 3a)THE ACTION WHICH HE INTENDED TO DO Chayav(4) Patur WAS PROHIBITED -- AND HE KNEW IT ("Shnei Gufin, Shneihem Shel Isur:" e.g. he intended to pick one grape, but accidentally picked a different one) 3b)THE ACTION WHICH HE INTENDED TO DO Chayav(7) Rava : Patur WAS PROHIBITED -- BUT HE DID NOT Abaye: Chayav(5) KNOW IT DUE TO AN ERROR IN CIRCUMSTANCES ("Chisaron Yedi'ah ha'Gorem l'Shinuy b'Ma'aseh:" e.g. he thought this grape was detached but it actually was attached) 4) THE ACTION WHICH HE INTENDED TO DO Chayav Chayav WAS PROHIBITED -- BUT HE DID NOT KNOW IT DUE TO AN ERROR IN HALACHAH ("Chisaron Yedi'as ha'Isur:" e.g. he did not know that it is Shabbos, or that the Torah prohibits picking grapes on Shabbos)(6)
(1) The general rule is as follows: According to RASHI, Abaye and Rava argue only in a case where he intended to do an action which in reality is permitted , and he ended up doing the action in a manner which is forbidden (e.g. he intended to cut a detached plant, and instead he cut an attached plant). However, when he intended to do an action which in reality is forbidden, he is not considered Misa'asek, but rather he is considered Shogeg and is Chayav to bring a Korban Chatas (e.g. he intended to cut a plant which he thought was detached, but it was really attached; alternatively, he intended to cut a particular attached plant, and he instead cut another attached plant -- see rows 3a and 3b in the chart).
(2) According to TOSFOS, Abaye and Rava argue only in a case where his lack of knowledge caused a change in the status of the action that he did ("Chisaron Yedi'ah ha'Gorem l'Shinuy Ma'aseh"). For example, he thought that this plant was detached and he cut it, but in reality it was attached. However, if he intended to do an action upon one item and he ended up doing an action on another item, both Abaye and Rava agree that he is Patur (rows 2 and 3a in the chart).
See Insights to Kerisus 19b, where we explained at length the argument between RASHI and TOSFOS in their respective ways of understanding the Gemara.
(3) So, too, when he intended to throw an object two Amos in Reshus ha'Rabim, and he accidentally threw it four Amos (which appears later on this Amud, 73a), or when he intended to throw four Amos in Reshus ha'Yachid (thinking that this area was Reshus ha'Yachid) and it was in reality Reshus ha'Rabim.
(4) This is the inference that Tosfos (DH Niskaven) makes from the words of Rashi (DH Niskaven). According to Rashi, this is indeed a matter of dispute between Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Yehoshua (in Kerisus), and Rebbi Yehoshua maintains that one is Patur in such a case, because "Meleches Machsheves Asrah Torah," the Torah only forbid intentionally performed Melachah, as we explained in Kerisus in Insights 2:a:(3).
(5) This is the way Rabeinu Tam (cited by Tosfos) explains. According to his explanation, when Abaye and Rava argue later on (73a) regarding a case where he intended to throw two Amos and accidentally threw four Amos, it must be a case where he intended to throw from here to the wall, and he thought that the distance was two Amos, while in reality it was four Amos. (This is indeed how the Ritva explains that case.)
(6) This is like the cases in the Mishnah at the beginning of the Perek.
(7) This seems to be the way to understand Rashi (DH Niskaven), based on the understanding of Tosfos (DH Niskaven) in Rashi. See footnote (4) above.