SHABBOS 107 - Dedicated in memory of Hagaon Rav Yisroel Zev (ben Rav Avrohom Tzvi) Gustman, zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael-Ramailes (Vilna-Brooklyn-Yerushalayim), author of "Kuntresei Shi'urim" and renowned Dayan in pre-war and post-war Vilna, in honor of his Yahrzeit on 28 Sivan. Dedicated by Dr. Yehoshua Daniel of Efrat.
1) THE MELACHAH OF "SHOCHET" AND INFLICTING A WOUND ON A "SHERETZ"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that one who wounds any of the eight Sheratzim listed in the Torah is Chayav. One who wounds other Sheratzim is Patur.
RASHI, in one explanation, explains that one is Chayav for wounding (Chovel) the eight Sheratzim because of the Melachah of Shochet. The eight Sheratzim have skins, and when one wounds such a Sheretz, its blood is moved from its place but remains under the skin, and this constitutes a Toldah of Shochet. One is not Chayav for wounding the other Sheratzim, because they do not have skins, and when he bruises their body no blood comes forth. Since no blood is removed from its place (because if blood would have been removed from its place, it would have been clearly visible), he is Patur.
Why is the act of Chovel considered a Toldah of Shochet (Netilas Neshamah)? In what way does inflicting a wound that draws blood resemble killing the creature?
ANSWER: TOSFOS in Kesuvos (5b) explains that since "blood is the life-source" ("ha'Dam Hu ha'Nafesh," Devarim 12:23), when one causes blood to come out, he is considered as though he has taken part of the life of the creature. When one bruises a creature and causes blood to form a clot under the skin, he is considered as though he has taken part of the life of the creature, because the blood has left its place in the body.
2) THE MELACHAH OF "TZOVE'A" AND INFLICTING A WOUND ON A "SHERETZ"
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that one who wounds any of the eight Sheratzim listed in the Torah is Chayav. One who wounds other Sheratzim is Patur.
RASHI, in a second explanation (see previous Insight), explains that one is Chayav for wounding (Chovel) the eight Sheratzim because of the Melachah of Tzove'a (dyeing). Since the eight Sheratzim have skins, wounding them causes the color of their skin to turn red because of the blood.
The Rishonim refer to the Gemara in Chulin (46a) that says that if a person hits and thereby removes blood from any Sheretz, he is Chayav. They explain that the Mishnah here refers to when one bruises the creature but no blood emerges.
A number of questions may be asked on this explanation of the Rishonim.
(a) The Gemara earlier (75b) quotes Rav who says that one who slaughters an animal on Shabbos is Chayav not only for Netilas Neshamah (killing), but also for Tzove'a (dyeing). Rav explains that a person wants the throat area to be red with blood so that the animal will appear to be freshly slaughtered and will be sold easily. The Gemara there implies that Tzove'a applies even when the flesh is colored, and not just the skin! Why, then, does Rashi say here that one is Chayav only for wounding the eight Sheratzim, because their skin becomes colored as a result of the wound, but one is not Chayav for wounding other types of Sheratzim that do not have skin? Even though they have no skin that becomes colored, their flesh becomes colored as a result of the wound!
(b) As the Gemara earlier (75b) makes clear, one is Chayav for Tzove'a only when he has an interest in coloring the item. Why, then, should one be Chayav for dyeing the skin of the eight Sheratzim if he has no interest in making the skin red?
(c) The Rishonim ask that if the blood goes out of the animal, then one is Chayav for Chovel even when he hits any other type of Sheretz other than the eight Sheratzim. Why is he Chayav when he hits a Sheretz that has no skin, if nothing was dyed?
(a) Flesh inside the body does not become colored as a result of a wound. Only the flesh at the surface of the body becomes colored when the blood cannot exit due to the presence of skin. Accordingly, Rashi says that one is Chayav only for wounding the eight Sheratzim, because their skin becomes colored as a result of the wound, but one is not Chayav for wounding other types of Sheratzim that do not have skin. Their flesh does not become colored as a result of the wound. This answers the first question.
(b) When one wounds a Sheretz and causes its skin to be colored as a result of the blood that clots underneath, he does have an interest in coloring the skin of the Sheretz. Just as Rav says that a person is interested in the red color around the throat of an animal that he slaughters, a person is interested in the red color in the skin of a Sheretz, because he wants to sell the skin. He wants the skin to be red so that when prospective buyers see the redness, they will know that it was killed recently, and they will buy it more readily and at a higher price. This answers the second question. One is Chayav for dyeing the skin of the eight Sheratzim, because he does have an interest in making the skin red.
(c) Rashi agrees that when one causes blood to go out of the body of the Sheretz, he is Chayav for Shochet, since he took [part of] the life of the creature. However, when the blood stays in the body under the skin, the blood never actually separates from the body. Consequently, he is Chayav only for Tzove'a (which applies only when the creature has skin). This answers the third question; the person who hits the Sheretz is Chayav for Shochet (because blood came out), but not for Tzove'a. (M. KORNFELD)
3) CAPTURING A "SHERETZ"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that one who captures any of the eight Sheratzim listed in the Torah is Chayav, because those Sheratzim have skin. One who captures other Sheratzim is Patur. Why is one Chayav for Tzeidah only for Sheratzim that have skin?
(a) RASHI explains that there are two reasons why one is exempt when he captures creatures that do not have skin. First, "Ein b'Mino Nitzod" -- those creatures are not in the category of animals that are normally captured. Second, the act of capturing a Sheretz with no skin is considered a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah. Since the reason why one normally captures a Sheretz is in order to obtain its skin, one who captures a Sheretz that has no skin is not doing the Melachah for its intended purpose. The Mishnah follows the view of Rebbi Shimon, who maintains that one is Patur for a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah.
(b) TOSFOS (DH she'Lo l'Tzorech) and other Rishonim question Rashi's explanation. Why does Rashi need to mention the reason that creatures without skin are "Ein b'Mino Nitzod," they are not in the category of animals that are normally captured? The Gemara (107b) explicitly says that the reason one is Patur is because one does not capture such animals for their own sake (Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah). Also, if one is Patur because this animal is not the type that is normally captured, then what difference does it make if one captures it for its own sake? One should still be Patur, because it is "Ein b'Mino Nitzod."
The Rishonim explain instead that one is Patur solely because the act is a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah. (Rabeinu Tam even suggests that the first reason that Rashi gives should be erased from the text of Rashi.)
4) HALACHAH: KILLING LICE ON SHABBOS
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes the argument between Rebbi Eliezer and the Rabanan with regard to whether one is permitted to kill lice on Shabbos. Rebbi Eliezer maintains that one may not kill lice on Shabbos, just as he may not kill any other animal on Shabbos, because of the Melachah of Shechitah. The Rabanan maintain that one may kill lice on Shabbos, because lice do not reproduce the way other living creatures do. Since lice are spontaneously generated from the sweat and dirt upon man's flesh, they are not included in the Melachah.
The Gemara earlier (12a) concludes that one may kill lice on Shabbos and the act does not constitute the Melachah of Shechitah, killing a living creature. This is also the ruling of the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 316:9).
Although in the times of the Chachamim (and until just two hundred years ago) it was accepted by all that some creatures are formed from inanimate objects, today the concept of spontaneous generation is no longer accepted as a scientific truth; modern science professes that all living things come about through propagation and regeneration. Is the Halachah different now if lice are not spontaneously generated? (See also Insights to Chulin 126:5.)
(a) Rav Yitzchak Lampronti, in Pachad Yitzchak (1750), quotes RAV YEHUDAH BRILL who asserts that the Halachah remains the same, regardless of what the wise men of the nations teach about the natural world. He writes that through the study of nature, secular scientists cannot understand the inner essence of nature; they can only judge by what is evident on the surface. To the Chachamim, however, all of the secrets of creation are revealed. If the Chachamim established the Halachah in a certain way, then that Halachah remains, for the "spirit of Hash-m is with them." (PACHAD YITZCHAK, Erech "Tzeidah Asurah")
Similarly, RAV ARYEH CARMELL cites his mentor, RAV ELIYAHU DESSLER zt'l in a footnote to MICHTAV ME'ELIYAHU (volume 4, p. 355), who teaches that the law does not change even though the reason for the law is difficult for us to understand. We must accept the rulings of the Chachamim, whether they are lenient or stringent. Rav Dessler points out that the reason mentioned in the Gemara for the ruling of the Chachamim is not necessarily the only possible reason. The Chachamim gave the reason that was most obvious in their day, which, in this case, was the universally accepted biological fact that lice spontaneously generate. There are other reasons for their rulings (see also RAMBAN to 12a, DH v'Ha Pligi, in the name of the Yerushalmi), and thus we may not conduct ourselves differently. Rav Dessler suggests, in the case of lice, the following explanation. It is a known principle that Halachah considers only factors that the senses can detect. Accordingly, since the egg of a louse is so small that it cannot be detected by the eye, the Halachah does not consider it at all, and thus the louse is given the status as a lower degree of life-form, for which there is no prohibition to kill.
RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l rules that the Halachah does not change, despite a change in our understanding of the natural world (see IGROS MOSHE, CM 2:73:4). He reasons that even if nature, or our understanding of nature, has changed, the Halachah does not, because the Halachah depends solely on the situation at the time of the original ruling of the Chachamim. (See also CHAVAS DA'AS 98:3, and CHAZON ISH YD 5:3.)
(b) However, RAV YITZCHAK LAMPRONTI himself disagrees with Rav Brill. He asserts that it is possible that the ruling of the Chachamim on this issue was based on their wisdom and human investigation, and not necessarily on received tradition. Perhaps had the Chachamim heard the proofs of modern scientists against spontaneous generation, they would have ruled otherwise.
He proves from the Gemara in Pesachim (94b) that there are occasions when the Chachamim based themselves on their own knowledge and not on received tradition. In the Gemara there, the Chachamim argued with the contemporary scientists, and Rebbi later commented that the opinion of the scientists was more plausible. If the words of the Chachamim were based on a received tradition, how could Rebbi side with the scientists against the received tradition? (See also Shabbos 85a.)
He therefore concludes that one who is concerned for his soul will conduct himself stringently and avoid killing lice on Shabbos, and thereby he will avoid a doubtful obligation to bring a Korban Chatas. This is also the ruling of the TESHUVOS SHEVET HA'KEHASI (3:126), cited by the PISKEI TESHUVOS (OC 316:6), who rules that one may not kill lice on Shabbos nowadays. His reasoning, however, is different. He asserts that the lice of today are not the same type of lice discussed in the Gemara.
HALACHAH: Today, the common practice is to refrain from killing lice on Shabbos. The ORCHOS SHABBOS (14:30) writes that "it is preferable to refrain from killing lice in our days, since the lice in our days are known to propagate reproductively, and it is possible that they are not the lice that are mentioned in the Gemara." The authors of Orchos Shabbos (fn. 47) write that they heard this ruling in the name of RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a. However, they also point out that TESHUVOS LEV CHAYIM (3:17) permits killing lice today, and they write that they also heard this ruling in the name of RAV SHLOMO ZALMAN AUERBACH zt'l.
(This topic has been discussed extensively in various sources. For a list of some of those sources, contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf.)
4) OPENING A BLISTER
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes the Mishnah (Eduyos 2:5) that teaches that one who opens a blister (Mefis Mursa) on Shabbos in order to extract pus (the pressure of which causes him pain) is Patur. Rav explains that such an act is a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah, and the Mishnah follows the view of Rebbi Shimon, who says that one is Patur for a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah. Shmuel (107a) says that one is permitted even l'Chatchilah to open a blister to extract its pus, because the Rabanan permitted one to relieve himself of pain on Shabbos.
Earlier in Shabbos (42a), Shmuel rules like Rebbi Yehudah, who says that one is Chayav for a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah. According to Rebbi Yehudah, a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah is forbidden even mid'Oraisa. Why, then, does Shmuel here rule that one is permitted to open a blister in order to remove the pus? The Rabanan permitted one to transgress an Isur d'Rabanan because of pain; they cannot permit one to transgress an Isur d'Oraisa!
(a) TOSFOS (3a, DH ha'Tzad) cites RABEINU TAM who answers that Shmuel does not actually rule that one is permitted to open a blister to extract the pus. Rather, Shmuel merely states what Rebbi Shimon maintains with regard to opening a blister to remove the pus.
(b) The MAGID MISHNEH (Hilchos Shabbos 10:17) explains that according to Shmuel, one who opens a blister is not exempt because he is doing a Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah. Rather, he is exempt because he is not doing a Melachah at all. When one opens a blister not to extract the pus, but for therapeutic purposes, one completes the formation of the blister, and if his intention is to complete the blister, he is Chayav for the Melachah of Makeh b'Patish. According to Shmuel, if he extracts the pus from a blister, he is not doing an act of Makeh b'Patish at all, since he does not "finish" anything. Therefore, he may open the blister for this purpose even l'Chatchilah (in order to relieve the pain) even according to Rebbi Yehudah.
(c) RASHI (107a, DH Chayav) also maintains that letting out pus does not involve a Melachah at all. Rashi explains that if one opens the blister in order to make an opening (literally, a "mouth"), he is Chayav either because of Boneh or because of Tikun Kli. Boneh applies only when one makes a hole that will be used for putting things in and for taking things out. However, when one makes a hole in a blister to let out the pus, he does not care if the hole closes right away when he is finished (Rashi here, DH l'Hotzi). Consequently, he is not making a hole that will be used for putting things in and for taking things out, and he is Patur since no act of Boneh (or Tikun) has been done at all.
(Rashi and the Magid Mishneh understand that Shmuel argues with the Gemara on 107b and maintains that the permissibility of Mefis Mursa is unrelated to the view of Rebbi Shimon with regard to Melachah she'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah.)