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Shabbos 128


HALACHAH: The Beraisa teaches that a person may handle objects that can be fed to animals on Shabbos, such as mustard seeds which are fed to doves, and pieces of glass which are fed to ostriches. Ameimar says that one may handle pieces of glass only if he personally owns ostriches. Rav Ashi says that even though he does not own ostriches he may handle glass since he is fit to own ostriches. (The Halachic consensus follows the ruling of Ameimar; one must own, or have access to, ostriches in order to move glass.)

This Beraisa appears to contradict the Mishnah (126b). (1) First, the Beraisa states that mustard seeds may be handled because they can be used to feed doves. The Mishnah, though, states that one may *not* handle mustard seeds. (2) Second, the Beraisa states that items may be handled if they are fit to be fed to animals. The Mishnah, though, states that bundles of straw -- which are fit to be fed to animals -- may be handled only if they were *prepared* before Shabbos as food for animals.


(a) The RASHBA says that the Beraisa and the Mishnah indeed argue with each other. Both agree to the general principle that it is permissible to handle objects only if the *normal usage* of that object is a permitted one; thus, mustard seeds may be handled only if the normal usage of mustard seeds is to feed them to doves. The Beraisa and Mishnah dispute what the normal use of mustard seeds is. According to the Mishnah, the normal use of mustard is for man, and not for birds. The Beraisa maintains that it is also normally used as food for birds. (Alternatively, the Beraisa and Mishnah agree to the frequency at which mustard is fed to birds. They argue whether this degree of frequency is considered a normal use or not.)

Bundles of straw are normally used for *burning*, and not fodder. Therefore the Mishnah states that it must be prepared before Shabbos as animal fodder in order to be permitted to be handled on Shabbos. The Beraisa does not argue with this point.

(b) The RIF and RAMBAM, according to the RAN, explain that the Beraisa and Mishnah are not arguing. Rather, the permissibility to use these objects depends on the place. In a place where it is common to raise doves, mustard seeds may be handled. The Mishnah, though, is referring to a place where people do not raise doves, and therefore mustard seeds may not be handled.

HALACHAH: The Rishonim conclude that anything that is commonly fed to an animal that is either commonly owned in this place or owned by the person in question, is permitted to be moved on Shabbos (OC 308:29).
QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that states that unsalted fish is Muktzah and may not be handled on Shabbos, and that unsalted meat is not Muktzah and it may be handled on Shabbos. RASHI explains that unsalted fish is Muktzah because it is not fit for use today, since people do not throw unsalted fish to dogs. (Presumably, they intend to cook it and eat it themselves after Shabbos).

If so, why should unsalted meat be any different? Unsalted meat should also be Muktzah for this same reason; it will be cooked and eaten after Shabbos rather than fed to dogs!


(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR (142b) and TOSFOS (DH Dag) explain that this Beraisa follows the opinion of Rebbi Shimon (Beitzah 27b), who maintains that something which is prepared for human consumption after Shabbos is *not* Muktzah on Shabbos and may be fed to dogs. Therefore, even though one plans to cook and eat the meat after Shabbos, it is permitted because it is fit for dogs. Fish is Muktzah *not* because one plans to eat it himself after Shabbos, but because it is not normally fed to dogs. Since unsalted fish is not even fit for dogs, it is Muktzah.

(b) TOSFOS suggest a second answer. One throws neither fish nor meat to dogs, because dogs are able to fend for themselves. Meat, though, is not Muktzah, because it is common to throw meat to a domesticated wild animal (Chayah), which is unable to fend well for itself. Unsalted fish is not thrown even to a wild animal.


QUESTION: The Beraisa says that if a woman giving birth needs a certain item such as oil, her friend may carry it to her through Reshus ha'Rabim, but she must carry it with a deviation from the normal way of carrying. That is, one should perform the Melachah with a Shinuy where possible in order to minimize the desecration of Shabbos.

This implies that the laws of Shabbos are not suspended and permitted ("Hutrah") for the sake of Piku'ach Nefesh, but rather they are still in force but merely overridden ("Dachuyah") for the sake of Piku'ach Nefesh. Had they been completely suspended, it would be permitted to do a Melachah for the sake of Piku'ach Nefesh without any Shinuy. Why, then, do the Poskim rule that Shabbos is "Hutrah" for the sake of Piku'ach Nefesh (see BI'UR HALACHAH OC 328 who cites the ROSH and MAHARAM MI'ROTENBURG who ascribe to this view)?

ANSWER: The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 330:5) explains that a woman in labor is considered to be in a lesser degree of danger than someone else who is in mortal danger, because giving birth is a naturally occurring and common situation which normally does not result in death, even though it is dangerous. Therefore, when Shabbos must be desecrated for a woman giving birth, if it is possible to be Mechalel Shabbos with a Shinuy, then one should use a Shinuy. In other cases of Piku'ach Nefesh, however, no effort is made to do the Melachah with a Shinuy.

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