Monday, April 28, 2014

Rambam (Eyin Mishpat) on Daf Yomi, Beitzah 29 (28th of Nissan, 5774)

Text and notes taken from

Laws of Shevitat Yom Tov
Chapter 4, Halacha 21

A person should not tell a butcher, "Give me a dinar's worth of meat." Instead, he should say, "Give me a portion" or "...half a portion." On the following day, they should reckon its worth.

Similarly, a person should not take a [specific] measure or weight [of goods] from a storekeeper. What should he do instead? He should tell the storekeeper, "Fill this container for me," and on the following day he should pay him for its value. Even if it is a container that is used for measuring, he may fill it, provided he does not mention any [specific] measure.[1]

Chapter 4, Halacha 22

A chef[2] may measure spices and add them to a dish so that the food will not spoil. A housewife, by contrast, should not measure[3] [the quantity of] flour [to use] for dough,[4] nor should a man measure the barley groats he places before his animal. Instead, he should approximate [the appropriate amount], and give that to it.

Chapter 3, Halacha 14

Although flour was sifted on the day prior to the holiday, and its bran removed, it may not be sifted again on a holiday unless a pebble, a sliver of wood, or the like fell into it.[5] This is permitted, however, if one deviates from the norm by sifting with the back of the sifter,[6] sifting over the table, or the like.

Chapter 4, Halacha 23

It is permitted to take a specific number of eggs and nuts from a storekeeper.[7] The same is true for other similar products, provided one does not mention money or the sum of his account.

What is meant by "the sum of his account"? When a person owes [a storekeeper] for ten pomegranates or ten nuts, he should not tell him on a holiday, "Give me ten more so that I will owe you for twenty." Instead, he should take the [second ten] without any comment and make a reckoning on the following day.

Chapter 5, Halacha 1

Although the Torah allowed carrying on a holiday even when it is not necessary [for the preparation of food], one should not carry heavy loads as he is accustomed to do on a weekday; instead, he must depart [from his regular practice].[8] If, however, making such a departure is impossible, it is permitted.

What is implied? A person who brings jugs of wine from one place to another place should not bring them in a basket or in a container. Instead, he should carry them on his shoulder or in front of him. A person who is carrying hay should not sling the bale over his shoulder. Instead, he should carry it in his hands.

[1] This represents a reversal of the Rambam's ruling in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Beitzah 3:8). This change in thinking appears to result from the Rambam's understanding of Rav Yitzchak Alfasi's rulings with regard to Beitzah 29a, the Talmudic passage on which this halachah is based (Rav Kapach). (See also the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh.)
[2] The Maggid Mishneh states that this does not apply only to a chef, but to anyone. Why does Beitzah 29a, the source for this halachah, mention a chef? Because "the Sages spoke about commonplace events."
Why is a person granted this leniency? Because if he does not use the proper amount of spices, he will spoil the flavor of the food he is preparing. In the other instances mentioned in this halachah, the person will not suffer a loss from making an approximation.
Rav David Arameah differs, and explains that this law applies only to a chef, for his professional reputation depends on even a slight deviation from the desired flavor. An ordinary person, by contrast, will not be inordinately upset if the flavor is affected slightly, because he uses a slightly larger or smaller amount of spices.
Although the Tur follows Rav David Arameah's view, when quoting this law the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 504:4) mentions "a person," rather than a chef.
[3] The reason for this and the following prohibition is that it appears that the person is measuring the flour or the barley for the purpose of selling it.
[4] For the dough will not spoil if one errs in his approximation of the proper amount to use.
[5] Although there are opinions that permit removing the pebble or the sliver by hand, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 506:4 and the Mishnah Berurah 506:12 forbid removing it by hand (for this would be removing waste matter from food as in Halachah 17), and require that the flour be sifted again.
[6] If, however, the flour had not been sifted on the previous day, it may not be sifted on the holiday (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 506:2). It is, however, permissible to have a gentile sift the flour, provided he deviates from the ordinary practice (Ramah).
[7] This is permitted because even at home a person will ask for a specific number of eggs or nuts, so that he will not have more or fewer than he requires.
[8] Rashi (Beitzah 29b) explains that this restriction applies even to foods that are necessary for the holiday. The reason for this stringency is that a person carrying large loads appears to be going about his weekday affairs without awareness of the holiday.
Rashi [cited by the Ramah (Orach Chayim 510:8)] also states that these restrictions apply only in the public domain. Within a courtyard or a home, one may carry in one's ordinary fashion. Rav Kapach explains that this is also the Rambam's view, for (although it is not explicitly stated) the entire chapter speaks about passage through the public domain.

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