The Gemara says that the people of Teveryah used water on SHabbos. Rashi says it was cold water. What is so special about using cold water on Shabbos??
Dr. Moshe Kaplan, Jerusalem, Israel
The Gemara doesn't say that the people of Teveryah used water on Shabbos. What the Gemara does say is that R. Chananyah ben Akashya permitted the men of Teverya to dry themselves with a towel on Shabbos (or Yom-Tov), and the Chidush is that we are not worried that they might wring out the towel.
What you probably meant to ask is why Rashi needs to qualify 'water'. What difference does it make whether the water is hot or cold?
The answer to this question lies in the Gemara in Shabbos (147b), which specifically forbids bathing in hot water on Shabbos.
Even pouring water over oneself is a Machlokes between R. Shimon (who permits) and R. Yehudah (who forbids). So Rashi's comment covers all cases according to all opinions.
be'Virchas Kol Tuv
Dr. Kaplan's question originated with my question.
Three things were permitted to the people of Tevaria. One was the special folding virtual mechitza, because they had a special body of water. The second was using "atzeh", because they were hard workers. In those cases the heter was because of the particular situation of Tevaria.
The towel heter would have been special to Tevaria had they washed in the hot water of "Chamei Tevaria", which was specially permitted to them on Shabbos. However, Rashi goes out of his way to say that it was the regular washing in cold water permitted everywhere. So, what was particular to Tevaria in this heter?
I wonder if Teverya wasn't mentioned specifically because of the chamei Teverya. The springs are naturally hot and there should be no question of anyone heating up water. That is unless the chachomim made no bathing in hot water lo plug whether the water is naturally hot ot not. The bath house/sauna attendants, balonim, were suspected of heating up water on Shabbos itself. Questions of using the hot springs of Teverya also came up. I seem to remember something about their putting pipes in the hot water and the chachomim weren't happy about it. Maybe that's another reason Rashi specifically mentions cold water.
Let's begin with the last question first. In my answer, I referred to the Gemara in Shabbos, which cites the prohibition of bathing in hot water specifically with regard to Chamei Teverya, leaving no room for further discussion on this point.
The Sugya of the pipes is the Mishnah in Perek Kirah (38b), which specifically forbids bathing in that water.
Back to the original Kashya.
I would suggest that even if for some reason or other, the men of Teverya had been permitted to bathe in the Chamei Teverya, that would not explain R. Chananya ben Akavya's ruling, because then he ought to have specified bathing in his concession, and not just using a towel to dry oneself.
The Bi'urei ha'Rishonim (in the "Lublin Shas" Gemara) citing the Yichusei Tana'im va'Amora'im, deals with the problem. In his opinion, drying oneself with a towel after bathing is prohibited because, when returning the towel to the bath-attendant (other people, it appears, did not own towels, at least not big bath-towels) one would wring it out. The people of Teverya, who all lived in the vicinity of the hot springs, all had their own towels, and did not therefore need the services of the bath-attendants. Consequently, they would not come to wring out their towels on Shabbos. And that is why R. Chananya ben Akavya gave them this special concession.
From the Ran in Shabbos however, (also cited there) it seems that the concession was not confined to the men of Teverya, but was permitted across the board (even though it ought logically to have been forbidden). Because if people would not be allowed to dry themselves, they would not bathe (in cold water) either, something which would have been too much for the people to bear ('Gezeirah sh'Ein Rov Tzibur Yecholin La'amod Bo').
According to the Ran therefore, it emerges that R. Chananya ben Akavya permitted a virtual Mechitzah and using Atzah with dew, (which is generally forbidden), to the men of Teverya exclusively, whereas his concession of drying oneself with a towel extended to everybody (since a. we do not find any other Tana who forbids it, and b. there was no reason to permit it to the men of Teverya more than to anybody else).
Incidentally, it seems clear from Rashi that he holds like the Ran.
be'Virchas Kol Tuv
A small point: I haven't got my Gemoro with me now, but I suspect it was R. Chananya ben Akavya
Meir Eliezer Bergman
You are correct. It was R. Chananyah ben Akavya.
Kollel Iyun Hadaf
See Tosfos there DH v'Ha, Tosfos 109a DH Rochatzin, and Rashi 40b DH Nichnasti, who all make it clear that it is permitted to wash in Chamei Teveryah. This is also the conclusion of Shulchan Aruch OC 326:1. As for the pipes which were prohibited, that is not the same Din as Chamei Teveryah (see OC ibid and 318:1).
As to the original question, if one is Medayek, Rashi's DH is not on the Heter for the people of Teveryah but on the Beraisa that makes no distinction between Teveryah and other places. It is for this reason that Rashi has to say cold water. With regards to Rav Chananyah ben Akavyah's Heter, which was clearly "l'Anshei Teveryah," it would seem that he discussed this question with the the people of Teveryah because they were permitted to wash in the hot springs and that is why they asked the question.
I would just like to add that even in Teveryah it is not always permitted to wash in Chamei Teveryah - i.e. in a Kli, in a covered area.
You are quite correct: Chamei Teverya are not included in the Rabbinical prohibition of bathing on Shabbos. (As the Gemara says, the Chachamim saw that it was too difficult for the people to adhere to such a prohibition so they precluded Chamei Teveryah from their decree.) The pipes of Teveryah were not prohibited because people were washing in Chamei Teveryah, but because the pipe-water was heated and "cooked" on Shabbos.
Please note that even according to Rabbi Zirkind's explanation of Rebbi Chananyah ben Akavyah, Rebbi Chananyah ben Akavyah's ruling about the towels was not limited to the people of Teveryah in the same way that his other rulings were. The other lenient rulings applied specifically to the people of Teveryah, and not to others, for the reasons mentioned in the Gemara. The ruling about using towels applied to everyone, but Rebbi Chananyah addressed it to the people of Teveryah since they were more wont to bathe on Shabbos.
In any case, the original question on Rashi on 88a still remains. Even if the Beraisa was not specifically addressing the people of Teveryah, why does Rashi mention that it is discussing people who washed in cold water? The Beraisa may as well be addressing a person who bathed in Chamei Teveryah!
be'Virchas Kol Tuv
To answer the original question, perhaps Rashi in Eruvin 88a maintains that it is prohibited to wash in Chamei Teveryah when they are collected in a basin in the bathhouse (like the first opinion in Tosfos to Shabbos 109a DH Rochatizn). It is only permitted to wash in a "river" or spring flowing with Chamei Teveryah. Since the Beraisa discusses giving towels to a bathkeeper, it is evidently referring to a person who washed in a bathhouse, and not in a spring. Therefore Rashi found it necessary to explain that the person washed in cold water.
With regard to Rebbi Chananyah ben Akavyah's statement on 87b, we may still say, like Rabbi Zirkind, that the words of Rebbi Chananyah ben Akavyah were addressed to the people of Teveryah because they bathed in hot springs on Shabbos.