Thursday, August 21, 2014

the issur of lo tochal kol to'evah -- shabbos vs. basar b'chalav

Rashi writes that the issur of “lo tochal kol to’evah” (14:3) prohibits eating foods that have an issur attahced to them, e.g. basar b’chalav.  Tosfos (Chulin 115a d”h hachoreh) explains that food cooked on Shabbos is not assur as a to’evah.  The difference between Shabbos and basar b'chalav is that when you see a cheeseburger (for example), you recognize that there is something obviously wrong; however, there is nothing discernably different about food cooked on Shabbos.

The Maharal answers Tos' question with a lomdus that R’ Yosef Engel also discusses at greater length in his Esvan d’Oraysa.   When it comes to basar b’chalav, the cheftza of the food is inherently tainted; basar b’chalav is like food that contains halachic poison.  The food therefore is prohibited forever.  When it comes to cooking on Shabbos, however, it’s only the context of time in which the cooking takes place that is the issue.  There is nothing inherently wrong with the food.  The best proof that this is true is that the food is allowed to be eaten once Shabbos is over.

R’ Noson Gestetner suggests yet another answer.  When it comes to the issur of basar b’chalav, the Torah is concerned about the outcome, the result.  Not so when it comes to melacha on Shabbos.  A number of the classical Achronim (Beis Meir, Chasam Sofer, I believe the Pnei Yehoshua says this as well) prove this from the din of shlichus.  In other areas of halacha, we pasken l’chumra that something done by a shliach who is an aku”m counts as my deed.  Not so in hilchos Shabbos – m’doraysa, amira l’aku”m is permitted.  Shlichus causes the end result produced to be attributed back to the mishaleyach, but the reality is that it's the shliach, not the meshalayach, that puts in the sweat and work.  The focus of Shabbos is avoiding the sweat and work -- creating a day of menucha.  When it comes to basar b’chalav, the outcome, which is the focus of the issur, is called a to’evah.  When it comes to hil Shabbos, the issur is the action of violating Shabbos, not the food product itself, and therefore it is not called a to’evah.

My son once told me a great question that his rebbe asked on this approach.  If a sick person needs one piece of meat on Shabbos, but instead of cooking one piece I cook two pieces, I have violated Shabbos -- there is an issur of ribuy shiurim.  If the issur melacha is dependent on the outcome produced, then obviously there is a big difference between cooking one piece or cooking two pieces of meat.  But if the issur melacha is measured by the action involved, not the outcome, then what difference does it make how many pieces of meat are in the pot?  It’s the same act of cooking either way!   

We also once discussed a question of the Nimukei Yosef that is relevant to this issue.  R’ Yochanan (Bava Kamma 22) holds that the act of arson is like shooting an arrow at someone else’s property.  Nimukei Yosef in his hava amina understands this to mean that I become a mazik when the arrow strikes its target or the fire causes its damage.  If so, asks the Nimukei Yosef, how can we light Shabbos candles – it should be like we are burning things on Shabbos as the fire consumes its fuel?  If the Nimukei Yosef held that Shabbos was different than other areas of halacha because the chiyuv stems from the action rather than on the result, this question would not get off the ground.  There is no comparison between mazik, where one is chayav for the result when the damage occurs, and Shabbos, where one is chayav for initiating the action, which occurs before Shabbos and not on Shabbos itself.  

10 comments:

  1. I would answer with the Ran in Beitza 9b dafei haRif: Shabbos is dechuya, so the maaseh is assur anyway. The dichuy only applies to the necessary shiur, so if he made more, the punishment is chal on the maaseh itself. But on Yomtov, the Ran says, marbeh is muttar, because the action of bishul for ochel nefesh is hutra, and you can't be punished for marbeh where it doesn't involve another maaseh.

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    1. if the ma'aseh is a ma'seh issur than if you do ribuy shiurim none of the meat that was cooked should be able to be eaten on shabbos, not just the extra portion. I'm not sure that's correct.

      I remember discussing this same Ran with my son and we did not think it resolved the question, but it was for a different reason than that -- I will bl'n have to ask him again. I have unfortunately reached the point where I have to defer to my son's memory of the sugya over my own : (

      Aside from the kashe from ribuy shiurim, there is another kashe from the Nimukei Yosef in B.K. by isho m'shum chitzo and hadlakas ner shabbos. no time now -- maybe tomorrow I will update the post again.

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  2. Rav Schachter made this suggestion as well - to be mechalek between issur peula and issur chalos, and he also raised the question of ribuy beshiurim and was mitzayen an Ohr Sameach to that effect. (IIRC that Ohr Sameach is mechalek between different melachos- some are issur peula and some are issur chalos. Of course I only know this Ohr Sameach bc Rav Schachter quotes it in his shiurim.)
    See here
    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=13146&st=&pgnum=109

    (That's the 1960 Beis Yitzchak. So he was at the ripe old age of 19 when he wrote this article. He also republished it in his new sefer Ginas Egoz, with minor style changes - like he changed "issur ligrom matzav" to issur chalos.)

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    1. If you learned with hasmada and total focus, by the time you're nineteen-twenty you should be at the top of your abilities. I've seen this with many of my contemporaries who later were recognized as gedolei Yisrael. You see it in many sefarim as well, such as the Kli Chemda- "I wrote this when I was fourteen, and I'm re-printing it with minor changes" or something to that effect.

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    2. That may be true... I'm just saying I could not have come even close to writing (or thinking, or even thinking about) such things at 19. Which is why I'm not Rav Schachter. And for the same reason I'm always amazed when I see in the sefarim "I was mechadesh this when I was 14." (like Kuntres Chaslovitch in Igros Hagrid, which the Rav wrote as a young teenager. and was still saying over the Torah he was mechadesh then 40-50 years later. As is Rav Schachter.) To me it's mind-boggling.

      Just curious, if you don't mind my asking...which gedolim did you merit to see learning with this kind of hasmada and focus at age 19?

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    3. Moshe Brown (Perr's Yeshiva), Tzvi Berkowitz (NIRC), Moshe Lowy (Montreal), Shmuel Fuerst (Chicago), the Brothers Breitowitz, Dovid Goldberg (Telz), and more, but it's too depressing to think about it.

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    4. I should have mentioned one story. I once told Reb Moshe that I thought that something one of the mefarshim on Yerushalmi says was totally wrong. Reb Moshe agreed, but didn't like my strong words about that mefareish. He said that you can't start writing a peirush on Yerushalmi until you are a baki in all of Shas Bavli. In the next sentence, he said that he he began writing his peirush on Yerushalmi when he was thirteen. Unfortunately, it got lost.

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    5. Wow fantastic story!
      Thanks for sharing it

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  3. I updated the post with the kashe from the Nimukei Yosef. That's not in R" Shachter's article from what I see, the post has something new : )
    My son doesn't remember how his rebbe learned the Ran (he recalls that it didn't convince him though), so we are a little stuck on that point.

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    1. The Ohr Sameach in 18:1 (cited by Rav Schachter) thinks that Ribuy beshiurim would be mideoraysa on kotzer, mutar legamrei on shechita, and only assur miderabbanan on bishul. (I don't remember offhand what all the Rishonim hold abouit ribiuy beshiurim on bishul.)
      http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14551&st=&pgnum=89

      If so, there would be no stira to bishul being an issur peula, and not having the issur of lo sochal kol topeiva applied to it.

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