More Discussions for this daf
1. Can money be more important than learning Torah? 2. Dancing on Shabbos 3. Clapping and Dancing on Shabbos

Davic1 asks:

I never realized how many times we find things stated in the mishna - as the source of the oral law - which we do not actually observe. In another case there is the whole discussion about clapping, dancing, knocking at the door on Shabbos. The strange thing in the case of Ulla who prohibited knocking on the door because it causes a disturbance on shabbos is not within the framework of melachas. Furthermore, who decides on the degree of a particular sound as disturbing? Everyone could offer a different definition, and in fact one could argue that SINGING and even mere talking should be prohibited for the same reasons. I guess I wonder why such an issue would even be raised in a mishnah at all.

While I still wonder why specific laws of slander do not have specific mishnahs about them.


David Goldman

The kollel replies:

1) The Gemara here states that the reason that one may not clap or dance is because this might lead one to make, or repair, musical instruments. Tosfos above 30a DH Tnan writes that this did not apply in his times because they were not expert at makIng instruments so there was no need to make this decree.

2) I assume that you are referring to the Gemara Eruvin 104a where somebody knocked on the door and Ulla said that this is Chilul Shabbos. However, the Halacha does not follow Ulla, because Rabah said to Ulla that it is only musical sounds which are forbidden. Therefore the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 338:1 paskens that one may knock on the door, and the Mishneh Berurah #2 writes that even if one uses a kli to do this it is permitted since it does not involve music.

3) However if a loud noise is made this is different. The Gemara Shabbos 18a states that one may not put wheat into the mill, even before Shabbos, if this will conitnue on Shabbos and make a noise. Rashi DH She-Yitchenu writes that if we make a loud noise on Shabbos this means we are making light of Shabbos. Shabbos is for rest and for peace, so let us have a quiet Shabbos!


Dovid Bloom

Follow-up reply:

1) Rav Moshe Feinstein zt'l wrote in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:70:6 that if one sets an alarm clock to ring on Shabbos, and it can be heard in a different room, this is comparable to the milling of the wheat and is too loud.

2) Even whistling is permitted (see Rema Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 338:1). The Mishneh Berurah 338:3 writes that the prohibition made by the Rabbis does not apply if one merely uses one mouth. Natural ways, which do not involve machinery, are in order.

3) Nobody has yet challenged the suggestion I made based on the Commentary of the Rambam on the Mishnah in the 4th chapter of Maseches Menachos. He writes that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi did not include in the Mishanh matters that were known to everyone in his time. I argue that the laws of slander were also well-known. The Rambam writes that the way the Gemara was compiled is different. There everything is discussed.

4) Rashi, at the top of Bava Metzia 33b, writes that the Mishnah was only written because in the 3 generations which preceeded R' Yehuda Hanasi the amount of Halachic disputes rocketed due to the arguments beteeen Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel. Previously the Halacha had been much more uniform, but it was now necessary to record what disputes existed. However the Mishnah had not become a practical Halacha guide, That would only happen later towards the end of the period of the Gemara.

Yasher Koach Gadol for the wonderful comments.

Dovid Bloom

David Goldman asks:

Thank you. Actually I was thinking of something else. Laws of speech can be hard to define because they can involve gestures, moods, sounds, intentions, and these are all impossible to describe in a mishnah or even the gemara.

About Ulla, why would he have offered such a position that cannot possibly be quantified in terms of ability to cause a disturbance davka on Shabbos, and for which everyone would have different criteria?? It just doesn't make sense. But it is worth noting making loud sounds doesn't only apply on Shabbos but ethically applies all the time, such as loud chasanas, loud and noisy hachnasas sefer Torah, loud davening that disturbs neighbors, loud cars on Purim playing loud music. All the apply 24/7. Yet we know how many cases where we can see that such Jews don't care what they do because they are so selfish. Both in relation to Jews and to non-Jews, where there is no shortage of chilul hashem.

We have had the experience where children play on the sidewalk on Shabbos or Yomtov while their father davven next door or downstairs, and it was extremely disturbing. The "frum" fathers apparently were mafkir their children and didn't care about the neighbors whose windows faced the sidewalk. It was terrible.

About automatic machinery, my thought was that the sound of the machinery might lead people to think a person was doing a melacha. But I guess this is relative again, depending on the criteria for what constitutes "loud."

The kollel replies:

1) Yes I think that it is a good definition; that the Mishnah would not be so likely to give examples of intentions in Loshon Hora, whilst the Gemara does go into this. We find this in the Gemara Erchin 15b, 4 lines from the bottom of the page. The Gemara asks "what is an example of Loshon Hora?" Rabah said for instance if someone said "there is always a fire going at such and such's house". Rashi explains that this signifies that this person is rich and they are always cooking up meals there. Abaye said to Rabah that there is nothing wrong with this. He is not speaking Loshin Hora but merely letting people know that if you need a fire go to such and such's house and he will be able to help you. Abaye said that the wrong way to speak is to say that "where is there a fire? In the house of such and such where there is meat and fish". This inplies that they are greedy people who are always eating.

2) The Bach on the Tur Orach Chaim beginning #348 writes that according to Ulla the problem is that if one deliberately wants to make a noise one may not do this on Shabbos. Ulla's opinion is that Shabbos must be a quiet day and one must not make a positive effort to be noisy.

Good Shabbos

Dovid Bloom