Din & Daf: Conceptual Analysis of Halakha Through Case Study with Dr. Elana Stein Hain
Do we trust people to do the right thing? The Case of ב”ק עא) מעשה שבת)
Dr. Elana Stein Hain – firstname.lastname@example.org
Halakhah is a system designed for people to follow. And people are flawed!! We can be dishonest, self-serving, exploitative, etc. (How) should halakhic rulings try to correct for how people might exploit legal leniencies in dishonest ways? The case of ruling on whether an item changed/made by Shabbat violation may be used by Jews is one site where this question is addressed. We examine it in this brief shiur.
Available as a podcast or video shiur:
- בבא קמא עא.
דִּתְנַן: הַמְבַשֵּׁל בַּשַּׁבָּת – בְּשׁוֹגֵג יֹאכַל, בְּמֵזִיד לֹא יֹאכַל; דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר.
As we learned in a mishnah* (Terumot 2:3): In the case of one who cooks food on Shabbat, if one acted unwittingly (i.e., did not know it was Shabbat or did not know cooking on Shabbat was prohibited), one may eat the food (Rashi: that day; as may others) but if one acted intentionally one may not eat it (Rashi: that day**; nor may others)- per Rabbi Meir.
*In some manuscripts of the Gemara, the term דתניא, “as we learn in a baraita,” rather than דתנן, “as we learn in a mishnah” is used. דתניא is probably more accurate because what is cited does not show up in the Mishnah, but only in the Tosefta, a text also from the early 3rd century.
**In a case of intentional cooking, the cook and others may eat the item after Shabbat acc. to R. Meir
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: בְּשׁוֹגֵג – יֹאכַל בְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת, בְּמֵזִיד – לֹא יֹאכַל עוֹלָמִית.
Rabbi Yehuda says: If one acted unwittingly one may eat the food after Shabbat (Rashi: as may others), and if one acted intentionally one may not eat it ever (Rashi: although others may partake of it).
רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן הַסַּנְדְּלָר אוֹמֵר: בְּשׁוֹגֵג – יֵאָכֵל לְמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת לַאֲחֵרִים, וְלֹא לוֹ; בְּמֵזִיד – לֹא יֵאָכֵל עוֹלָמִית, לֹא לוֹ וְלֹא לַאֲחֵרִים.
Rabbi Yoḥanan HaSandlar says: If one cooked the food unwittingly it may be eaten after Shabbat by others only, but not by the person who cooked it; and if one acted intentionally it may not be eaten ever, neither by the cook nor by others.
- משנה תרומות ב:ג – נשמע כר’ מאיר
…הַמְעַשֵּׂר וְהַמְבַשֵּׁל בְּשַׁבָּת, שׁוֹגֵג, יֹאכַל, מֵזִיד, לֹא יֹאכַל…
One who separates tithes*, or cooks on Shabbat: If unwittingly, may eat it. But if intentionally, may not eat it.
*separating tithes or terumah on Shabbat is forbidden because it appears as a type of repair, as it renders the food it is separated from halakhically edible.
- משנה חולין א:א – נשמע כר’ מאיר
השוחט בשבת וביוה”כ אע”פ שמתחייב בנפשו שחיטתו כשרה
One who slaughters an animal on Shabbat or on Yom Kippur, though that person is now obligated in capital punishment, the slaughter is considered valid.
- תוספתא שבת ב:יז – נשמע כר’ יהודה
השוחט בשבת בשוגג, יֹאכַל למוצאי שבת. במזיד, לא יֹאכַל.
One who slaughters an animal on Shabbat – if unwittingly, may eat it after Shabbat; if purposely, may not eat it.
- ירושלמי תרומות ב:א דף יב.
רַב כַּד הֲוֵי מוֹרֵי בַּחֲבוּרָתֵיהּ מוֹרֵי כְּרִבִּי מֵאִיר. בְּצִיבּוּרֵי כְּרִבִּי יוֹחָנָן הַסַּנְדְּלָר…
When Rav taught his group of students, he ruled like R. Meir (i.e., more leniently). But when he taught in public, he ruled like R. Yohanan the Sandalmaker(i.e., the most strictly)…
בָּעִין קוֹמֵי רִבִּי יוֹחָנָן אַתְּ מַה אַתְּ אָמַר? אָמַר לוֹן אֲנִי אֵין לִי אֶלָּא מִשְׁנָה הַמְעַשֵּׂר וְהַמְבַשֵּׁל בַּשַּׁבָּת בְּשׁוֹגֵג יֹאכַל בְּמֵזִיד לֹא יֹאכַל.
They asked R. Yohanan: What do you say? He said, I only have what is written in the mishnah (Terumot 2:3): One who separates tithes, or cooks on Shabbat: If unwittingly, may eat it; if intentionally, may not eat it.
שָׁמַע רַב חִסְדָּא וָמַר הוּתְּרוּ שַׁבָּתוֹת! לֹא כֵן אָמַר רַב הוּנָא בְשֵׁם רַב וְתַנֵּי רִבִּי חִייָה כֵן בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הָיוּ אוֹמְרִים הַשּׁוֹכֵחַ תַּבְשִׁיל עַל גַּבֵּי כִירָתוֹ בַשַּׁבָּת בְּשׁוֹגֵג יֹאכַל בְּמֵזִיד לֹא יֹאכַל. נֶחְשְׁדוּ שֶׁהָיוּ מַנִּיחִין מֵזִידִין וְאוֹמְרִים שְׁכֵיחִין הָייִנוּ וְאָֽסְרוּ לָהֶן אֶת הַשּׁוֹכֵחַ. וְאַתְ אָמַר הָכָא הָכֵין?!
Rav Hisda heard and said: Will the Sabbaths be rendered permissive?! Did not Rav Huna say in the name of Rav, and R. Hiyya likewise taught: in the beginning, they used to say that one who forgot a dish on the stove with the onset of Shabbat,* unwittingly may eat it, but intentionally may not. But they were suspected of intentionally leaving the dish and just claiming, “We forgot it there,” so they forbade the food of one who forgets the item there as well. And yet, you say this (permissive thing) in this instance (of cooking on Shabbat)?!
*The issue raised here is called שהייה, the rabbinic prohibition of leaving food on a flame even before shabbat to cook unless a) the food is already cooked to an edible degree, b) the food is completely raw; or c) the flame/mechanism for raising the flame is covered.
אָמַר רִבִּי הִילָא נֶחְשְׁדוּ לִהְיוֹת מַנִּיחִין וְלֹא נֶחְשְׁדוּ לִהְיוֹת מְבַשְּׁלִין. קָֽנְסוּ בְמַנִּיחַ וְלֹא קָֽנְסוּ בִמְבַשֵּׁל…
- Hila said: they were suspected of leaving something cooking, but not of directly cooking on Shabbat. They placed a penalty on someone who leaves a pot (even out of forgetfulness) but not someone who unwittingly cooks on Shabbat…
- בבלי חולין טו.
והאמר רב חנן בר אמי כי מורי להו רב לתלמידיה מורי להו כר’ מאיר וכי דריש בפירקא דריש כרבי יהודה משום עמי הארץ
Did not R. Hanan bar Ami say: when Rav ruled for his students, he ruled for them like R. Meir, but when he expounded at the public learning session (Rashi: on Shabbat), he expounded like R. Yehuda because of the hoi polloi (See Bavli Berakhot 47b for definitions of עם הארץ.)
Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Passionate about bringing Torah into conversation with contemporary life, she teaches Talmud from the Balcony, an occasional learning seminar exposing the big ideas, questions, and issues motivating Talmudic discussions; she authored Circumventing the Law: Rabbinic Perspectives on Legal Loopholes and Integrity (pre-order discount code: PENN-ESHAIN30) which uses halakhic loopholes as a lens for understanding rabbinic views on law and ethics; and she co-hosts For Heaven’s Sake, a bi-weekly podcast with Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi, exploring contemporary issues related to Israel and the Jewish world. In mid-January, Elana will be starting a new podcast called TEXTing, where she and guest scholars study Torah texts that engage issues of the moment for the Jewish world. She lives in Manhattan with her beloved family.
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