THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) EXTINGUISHING A FLAME ON YOM TOV
QUESTION: The Gemara earlier (22a) discussed whether it is permitted, on Yom
Tov, to extinguish a candle in a room where a man and his wife are residing,
or to put out a fire in order to save one's home, both of which are
considered necessary for Yom Tov (Rashi).
We know that the principle of "Mitoch" teaches that any Melachah that is
permitted for the sake of Ochel Nefesh is also permitted for other purposes
(see Insights to 12a). The Melachah of Kibuy, extinguishing, is permitted
for the sake of Ochel Nefesh, as we find in our Sugya, which says that it is
permitted to grill meat on top of burning coals, even though the dripping
fat from the meat causes the coals to become extinguished. If so, why is
there any question whether it is permitted to extinguish a flame or put out
a fire on Yom Tov, and why does the Gemara conclude that it indeed is not
permitted? It should be permitted because of "Mitoch!"
We find another situation in which it is permitted to do Kibuy for the sake
of preparing food. When a flame is smoking and is going to ruin the food, it
is permitted to extinguish the flame in order to protect the food. Once
again, we may ask that since Kibuy is permitted in that case due to Ochel
Nefesh, it should be permitted for other purposes as well because of
In truth, though, the latter case, extinguishing a flame in order to save
food, is not a case of Kibuy for the sake of Ochel Nefesh, but rather a case
of Kibuy for the sake of *Machshirei* Ochel Nefesh. "Mitoch" does not apply
to Melachos that are permitted for the sake of Machshirei Ochel Nefesh, but
only to Melachos that are permitted for the sake of actual Ochel Nefesh.
This seems to be the intention of the ROSH (2:19). (See also PNEI YEHOSHUA,
However, "Mitoch" should work to permit Kibuy in all cases, since it is
permitted to do Kibuy in the case of placing meat on coals, which is an
actual case of Ochel Nefesh.
(a) The RE'AH here and in the CHINUCH (Mitzvah #298) explains that there are
two types of Kibuy -- one that is done to effect a positive outcome (by
accomplishing a desired result), and one that is done to effect a negative
outcome (by removing an unwanted entity). In the case of roasting meat over
the burning coals, one wants the juice of the meat to drip on the coals. In
that case, the Kibuy is being done because one wants it to be accomplished
and to achieve the desired consequence, and not because one is trying to
remove something. The Kibuy discussed in our Gemara is when one wants to
remove the flame. "Mitoch" will only permit an act of Kibuy that has a
positive value, and therefore it cannot permit the Kibuy discussed in our
(b) The CHIDUSHEI ME'IRI explains that in truth, Kibuy is not permitted
because of Ochel Nefesh. Placing meat over coals in such a way that the
juice of the meat drips onto the coals is not considered Kibuy for Ochel
Nefesh, since the dripping and extinguishing is not what one desires; it
just happens incidentally while one is cooking the meat. Deliberately
extinguishing a flame is never permitted for Ochel Nefesh, and thus "Mitoch"
cannot permit it for other uses either.
It is not clear what the Me'iri means by this. Perhaps he means that
extinguishing the coals in such a manner is not an Isur d'Oraisa of Mechabeh
at all (according to the conclusion of our Gemara), since it is done without
intent. It is a Davar she'Eino Miskaven (since it is not certain that the
dripping will extinguish the coals, i.e. it is not a Pesik Reisha).
(c) According to the RAMBAM, our question is not a question. The Rambam
(Hilchos Yom Tov 1:4) maintains that there are only two Melachos to which
"Mitoch" applies: Hotza'ah and Hav'arah (carrying into Reshus ha'Rabim and
kindling a flame). Only those two Melachos may be performed for purposes
other than that of food preparation. All other Melachos are permitted only
for the sake of food preparation and "Mitoch" does not apply to them. (See
Insights to 12:1:d.)
(d) The ROSH (2:19) seems to suggest that extinguishing a flame for Davar
Acher is not considered a necessity for the Yom Tov, perhaps because it is
not an act that is associated with Yom Tov. Likewise, extinguishing a flame
in order to prevent monetary loss is not necessary to do on Yom Tov.
2) HALACHAH: CIGARETTES ON YOM TOV
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses placing incense on coals, which involves
kindling and extinguishing on Yom Tov. These issues touch off a major debate
among the Acharonim regarding the question of whether or not it is permitted
to use cigarettes on Yom Tov.
While many contemporary authorities have stated that there is no allowance
to smoke at all (even on a normal weekday) due to the proven dangerous
effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke on the body, nevertheless
according to those who do permit a Jew to smoke, may one smoke on Yom Tov?
(Our intention here is not to issue a Halachic ruling, but to summarize the
There are four points of discussion regarding smoking on Yom Tov.
(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 514:4) cites the K'NESES HA'GEDOLAH who prohibits
smoking on Yom Tov because it involves Mechabeh, extinguishing.
HALACHAH: The KORBAN NESANEL concludes in very strong terms that smoking on
Yom Tov is reprehensible, and "if one wants to honor Hashem and his Torah he
should hold himself back from smoking for one or two days (Yom Tov) , even
though his Yetzer Hara might suggest ways to permit it based on the Shas."
The DARCHEI NO'AM (#9), in a lengthy Teshuvah, asks that there does not seem
to be any act of Mechabeh done when one smokes. If anything, it involves
Hav'arah (burning), and not Mechabeh. Any conceivable form of Mechabeh
involved (such as when one squeezes the cigarette, the fire is diminished)
would seem to be a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven and not a Pesik Reshei, and should
thus be permitted.
(b) The MAGEN AVRAHAM proposes a more basic reason to ban smoking on Yom
Tov. Even if it does not involve extinguishing but only burning, and we know
that Hav'arah is permitted because of the principle of "Mitoch," "Mitoch"
only permits something which is "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh," which everyone
enjoys, and smoking is certainly not something that everyone enjoys.
However, the PNEI YEHOSHUA (Shabbos 39b, DH v'Omer) and RAV YONASAN
EIBESHITZ (Binah l'Itim, Hilchos Yom Tov 4:6) write that this is not enough
to prohibit smoking. TOSFOS in Shabbos (39b, DH u'Veis Hillel) writes
regarding going to a bathhouse to sweat on Yom Tov that even though washing
the entire body is not "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" and is therefore prohibited
(see Tosfos Beitzah 21b DH Lo), nevertheless sweating is permitted because
it is for Refu'ah, and not for pleasure. Similarly, there might be grounds
to permit smoking because of its medicinal properties, since people smoke to
enhance their digestion or their appetite.
RAV GUSTMAN, zt'l, was asked if we can permit smoking on Yom Tov with this
argument in our day, now that the dangerous effects of smoking have been
proven. Rav Gustman answered that anyone who smokes still convinces himself
that it is beneficial for him. That is, the question is not whether or not
smoking is objectively healthy, in the long run, but whether the person does
it for the pleasure that it provides (in which case it is not "Shaveh l'Chol
Nefesh" and should not be permitted on Yom Tov), or for the chemical effects
that it has on the body. Those who smoke do so for the artificial calming
effect of the nicotine. Therefore, it could be considered "Shaveh l'Chol
Nefesh," because when it comes to matters of Refu'ah, we look at the
ultimate effect and not at what causes that effect, as the KESAV SOFER
explains in a Teshuvah (OC #64). That is to say, since everyone would like
to be relaxed, whatever has relaxing effects is considered to be "Shaveh
The KORBAN NESANEL (Beitzah 2:22:10), cited by the BI'UR HALACHAH (511:4),
mentions another reason that could make smoking be considered "Shaveh l'Chol
Nefesh." Since many people, and not just a few people, have the practice to
smoke, it can be considered "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh." The Bi'ur Halachah adds
that this obviously applies only in places where it is still acceptable to
smoke and most people do so.
The KORBAN NESANEL himself, though, prohibits smoking on Yom Tov. Just
because most people in a place smoke, that does not make it "Shaveh l'Chol
Nefesh" since it is damaging to those who are not accustomed to it. Lighting
the "Mugmar" and washing one's entire body are also things that many people
do and are still considered things which are not "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh"
since some people do not appreciate such "pleasures." The PNEI YEHOSHUA
(Shabbos 39b) also presents this argument.
(c) The PRI MEGADIM (OC 511) points out that an additional problem is
introduced when there is printing or letters on the outside of the cigarette
wrapper, since by smoking one destroys those letters and transgresses the
Melachah of Mochek (erasing). Because of this, some people who smoke on Yom
Tov do not inhale when the cigarette burns down to the letters, but they let
it burn by itself, so that they should not transgress the Melachah of
Mochek. RAV HILLEL RUVEL, Shlit'a, pointed out that this practice will not
avoid the problem of Mochek according to the NIMUKEI YOSEF in Bava Kama
(22a) who says that when one lights a fire, one is considered to have burned
everything that will eventually be burned by the fire. When Rav Ruvel
brought this up with Rav Gustman, zt'l, Rav Gustman said that those who act
leniently can rely on the OR SAME'ACH (Hilchos Shabbos 23:2), who says that
it is clear that if someone burns a book he is not Chayav for Mochek, since
Mochek involves taking away the words, not the entire paper.
(d) The KORBAN NESANEL (loc. cit.) writes that even if there is no Isur
d'Oraisa to smoke on Yom Tov, it is still extremely common that one
transgresses Isurei d'Oraisa while smoking, such as Hav'arah while
attempting to light the pipe/cigar/cigarette, or while adding or removing
tobacco from a pipe, or while tapping the ashes off of a cigarette. (This
may have been the intention of the Kneses ha'Gedolah cited above, (a).)
Other Acharonim (BIRKEI YOSEF OC 511) write that this reason cannot be used
as grounds for prohibiting smoking on Yom Tov, because it is accepted that
the sages today do not enact new Gezeiros. Since this reason entails making
a Gezeirah (that one may not smoke, lest one transgress an Isur d'Oraisa
while doing so), we cannot enact a rabbinical prohibition to prohibit
smoking on Yom Tov in order to prevent one from transgressing Isurei
However, most of the Acharonim, as cited by the BI'UR HALACHAH (loc. cit.),
permit smoking on Yom Tov as long as one is in a place where most of the
people smoke and it can be considered "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" there. RAV
MOSHE STERNBUCH points out that nowadays, since even in places where people
smoke they know that it is damaging to their health and it is becoming more
and more accepted not to smoke, it is difficult to rely on these reasons to
permit smoking on Yom Tov.
When asked by Kollel Iyun Hadaf whether smoking is permitted on Yom Tov, RAV
CHAIM PINCHAS SCHEINBERG said that it is certainly not considered something
which is "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" and thus cannot be permitted on Yom Tov.
Furthermore, Rav Scheinberg pointed out that it has been proven that smoking
is dangerous to one's health, and therefore smoking cannot be permitted at
any time. (Regarding those who already smoke and who suffer from nicotine
addiction, see RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN, Igros Moshe YD 2:49, and RAV MOSHE
STERNBUCH, Teshuvos 1:316.)
Another interesting question raised by the Acharonim is, if one person
maintains that it is not permitted to smoke on Yom Tov, may he light a
cigarette for someone who is lenient? The KESAV SOFER (ibid.), based on the
SHA'AR HA'MELECH (Hilchos Ishus 7:12), writes that if a person holds that a
certain practice is prohibited and he helps someone who holds that it is
permitted to do that practice, he transgresses the Isur of "Lifnei Iver."
Therefore, one who holds that it is prohibited may not help another person
smoke on Yom Tov, and he must treat cigarettes and other smoking implements
as Muktzah. However, the Kesav Sofer adds, if he holds that Halachah permits
smoking but he personally is stringent and does not smoke, then he may light
a cigarette for someone else who smokes.