THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) "AMIRAH L'NACHRI SHEVUS" -- TELLING A GENTILE TO DO MELACHAH ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that on Shabbos one may not tell his friend to
hire workers for him. The Gemara says that the Mishnah is not referring to
a Jewish friend, because it goes without saying that one may not tell a Jew
to do work for him. Rather, the Mishnah is referring to a gentile friend.
However, the Gemara asks, we already know that Amirah l'Nachri is forbidden
because of Shevus! Rashi explains this is learned from the Mishnah earlier
(121a), which states that one may not tell a gentile to extinguish a fire
What does the Gemara mean to ask? The Mishnah earlier cannot be compared to
our Mishnah! The earlier Mishnah says that one may not tell a gentile to do
an act which is Asur mid'Oraisa (such as extinguishing a fire). It cannot
be learned from there that it is forbidden to tell a gentile to do an act
which is only Asur mid'Rabanan, and that is why our Mishnah is needed!
(Tosfos, 121a, DH Ein Omrim Lo, explicitly says that the only source that
it is prohibited to tell a gentile to do an Isur d'Rabanan is from *our*
Mishnah.) (REBBI AKIVA EIGER, SEFAS EMES, YA'AVETZ, and others)
(a) The YA'AVETZ explains that it is Asur *mid'Oraisa* to tell a gentile to
do something which is Asur *mid'Oraisa* for a Jew to do on Shabbos, and not
just mid'Rabanan (see TOSFOS DH v'Dibur). It is logical to assume, then,
that telling a gentile to do an Isur d'Rabanan should be forbidden
mid'Rabanan, and it is not necessary for our Mishnah to tell us this. (See
Rebbi Akiva Eiger.)
(b) The CHASAM SOFER cites the RAMBAN (Vayikra 23:24) who says it is
forbidden *mid'Oraisa* to treat Shabbos like a weekday, as we learn from
the term "Shabason." This term commands us to rest on Shabbos and not to
treat the day like a normal weekday. Telling a gentile to hire a worker is
a weekday activity and is prohibited, by the Torah, to do on Shabbos.
(c) Perhaps the Gemara does not mean to ask that we already know that
Amirah l'Nachri is prohibited. Rather, the Gemara means to ask that if the
Mishnah is teaching that this type of Amirah l'Nachri is prohibited, then
this law should have been included in the earlier Mishnah (121a) which
discussed what one may tell a gentile to do on Shabbos. This may be what
Rashi means as well. (M. Kornfeld)
(d) The SHITAH L'RAN mentions an opinion that presents a different
understanding of the Sugya, which the SEFAS EMES also discusses. When the
Gemara asks that Amirah l'Nachri is prohibited because of Shevus, it means
that only telling a gentile to do an Isur d'Oraisa is prohibited. Telling
him to do an Isur d'Rabanan, such as hiring a worker, should be
2) THE CHASID WHO WANTED TO FIX HIS FENCE ON SHABBOS
3) DOING MELACHAH BEFORE HAVDALAH
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that there was a certain Chasid who wanted to
fix a breach in his fence on Shabbos. He remembered that it was Shabbos and
refrained from fixing his fence, and Hashem rewarded him with a Tzelaf
plant that grew in the place of the breach and provided sustenance for him
and his family.
[II] WHO'S WHO IN THE TALMUD
What was so great about refraining from desecrating Shabbos that merited
such a miracle as reward?
ANSWER: The YERUSHALMI (Shabbos 5:3) relates that this Chasid thought on
Shabbos about fixing the fence *after* Shabbos. Thinking about such a thing
on Shabbos is permissible, as our Gemara states. However, since he was a
Chasid, he regretted thinking -- on Shabbos -- about doing a Melachah after
Shabbos. He decided not to act on his thoughts and *never* to fix his
fence. As reward for his concern for the honor of Shabbos, Hashem fixed the
breach by making a Tzelaf plant grow there.
AGADAH: According to REMA MI'PANO (Sefer ha'Gilgulim), this Chasid bore the
soul of Tzelafchad.
It appears that this Chasid rectified the sin of Chilul Shabbos with which
Tzelafchad had tainted his soul. Earlier in this Masechta (96b), we are
told that Tzelafchad was the "Mekoshesh" described in the Torah who was
killed for desecrating Shabbos. His act involved either plucking or
gathering twigs from the ground or carrying them more than four Amos in
Reshus ha'Rabim. All of these acts are involved in repairing a fence. The
Chasid rectified the sin of Tzelafchad by deciding never to fix the fence
because he had thought about fixingit on Shabbos.
His reward was a Tzelaf plant, or a "Tzelaf Chad" (a sharp, thorned
Tzelaf). The Tzelaf provides three types of edible fruit (as Rashi
describes in Berachos 37a). These three types of fruit may correspond to
the three portions in the land of Israel that Tzelafchad passed on to his
daughters (his own, his rights to his father's portion and his Bechorah
rights in his father's portion, Bava Basra 116b).
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that a person may not do Melachah before reciting
Havdalah. What is the reason for this Halachah?
(a) RASHI explains that it is prohibited because it is necessary to first
do an act that represents *escorting out the Shabbos*. The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN
adds that the Rabanan wanted to make a sign to show that Shabbos has ended.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 29:5) says that it is prohibited to "eat,
do work, or taste anything" before reciting Havdalah. The BRISKER RAV
(stenograph) infers from the fact that the Rambam places work between
eating and tasting that all three of those activities are prohibited for
the same reason. A person may not eat because there is a Mitzvah of
Havdalah that is incumbent upon him to perform. Similarly, a person may not
do Melachah because it will *distract him* from his obligation to recite
The Brisker Rav adds that a number of Halachic differences between the
Rambam and Rashi due to the difference in their understanding of this
(1) The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 299:10) says that a person may not do any
Melachah before Havdalah. The REMA says in the name of RABEINU YERUCHAM
that one may do Melachah, but one may not do "Melachah Gemurah" (a "total,"
very involved Melachah) before Havdalah.
The Brisker Rav explains that the Shulchan Aruch agrees with Rashi, that
one may not do Melachah before making a sign that Shabbos has ended.
Rabeinu Yerucham, though, agrees with the Rambam, who says that one may not
do Melachah because it will distract him from the Mitzvah of Havdalah that
he must do. Only an *involved* Melachah (such as sewing) will distract him,
and therefore one may do a Melachah which is not distracting (such as
kindling a flame) before Havdalah.
(2) There is an argument whether one who says "ha'Mavdil Bein Kodesh
l'Chol" may do Melachah and eat as well, or he may only do Melachah (since
he has not yet recited the proper Havdalah). According to the RIF (Pesachim
104a), a person who says "ha'Mavdil..." may not only do Melachah, but he
may eat as well before Havdalah. The RAN there argues and says that saying
"ha'Mavdil..." permits only Melachah to be done.
The Brisker Rav explains that the Rif agrees with the Rambam; since eating
and doing Melachah are prohibited for the same reason, whatever permits one
will also permit the other. The Ran, on the other hand, agrees with Rashi,
that eating and doing Melachah before Havdalah are prohibited for two
separate reasons (Melachah, because it is necessary to show that Shabbos
has ended, and eating, because one is obligated to do the Mitzvah of
Havdalah). Therefore, saying "ha'Mavdil" is a sufficient indication that
Shabbos has ended and permits Melachah. It cannot permit eating, though,
since the Mitzvah to recite Havdalah is still incumbent upon the person.