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Shabbat, 5 Nissan 5773 / March 16, 2013

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Shabbos - Chapter Nine, Shabbos - Chapter Ten, Shabbos - Chapter Eleven

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Shabbos - Chapter Nine

Halacha 1

A person who bakes [an amount of food] the size of a dried fig is liable. Just as a person is liable for baking bread, he is liable for cooking food or herbs, or for heating water. These are all one type [of activity].1

The minimum amount of water for which one is liable for heating2 is an amount sufficient to wash3 a small limb.4 The minimum amount of herbs for which one is liable is the amount required to serve the purpose for which they are being cooked.5

Halacha 2

A person who places an egg next to a kettle so that it will become slightly cooked6 is liable if the egg becomes cooked, for a person who cooks with a derivative of fire7 is considered as if he cooked with fire itself.

Similarly, a person who washes aged salted fish8 or sole9- a very thin, soft fish - with hot water is liable. Washing them with hot water completes the cooking process they require.10 The same principles apply in other similar situations.

Halacha 3

A person who breaks open an egg over a warm cloth, over sand, or over the dust of the roads that are heated by the sun is not liable11 even though it becomes roasted, for the derivatives of the heat of the sun are [governed by] different [laws than those governing] the derivatives of fire. Nevertheless, the Sages instituted a decree forbidding cooking with [the derivatives of the heat of the sun], lest [one cook with] the derivatives of fire.12 Similarly, a person who cooks using the [hot] springs of Tiberias and the like is not held liable.13

A person who cooks food on a fire that has been completely cooked14 or who cooks food that does not need to be cooked15 at all is not liable.16

Halacha 4

When one person brought fire, another brought wood, another brought a pot, another added water, another put in meat, another put in spices, and another stirred it, all are liable for cooking. For anyone who performs an activity that is necessary for cooking is considered as [having performed that forbidden labor].

If, by contrast, one put down the pot, another came and added water, another came and added meat, another came and added spices, another came and brought fire, another came and placed wood on the fire, and another came and stirred, it is only the latter two who are liable for cooking.

Commentary Halacha

When one person brought fire, another brought wood - The Rambam's ruling is based on Beitzah 34a and the Tosefta, Shabbat 12:4. There are, however, slight differences between the wording chosen by the Rambam and the wording of those sources. Furthermore, the Talmud implies that the person who brought the fire is liable, not for performing a derivative of the labor of cooking, but for the labor of kindling. (See Rashi, loc. cit.) This is definitely not the Rambam's intent.

In resolution of this difficulty, the Kessef Mishneh quotes his teacher, Rav Ya'akov bei Rav, who explains that the first clause describes a situation in which all the individuals performed their act virtually simultaneously, with a shared intent. Hence, since the end result of their activity is the performance of a forbidden labor, all are held liable as if they had performed the labor themselves.

another brought the pot - As the Ra'avad mentions, Beitzah (loc. cit.) interprets this as referring to a situation where a new pot is used. Thus, heating the pot hardens it as would heating in a kiln. This is is also a derivative of the labor of cooking. (See Halachah 6 and Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 3:11.)

According to the explanation of the Kessef Mishneh mentioned above, this is unnecessary. Since the pot was brought together with the other elements for the sake of cooking, the person bringing it is liable, even if it is an old pot.

another added water - Even those who do not accept the explanation of the Kessef Mishneh would hold such a person liable, since a person is liable for heating water, as explained in Halachah 1.

another put in meat - Here too, the obligation is clear, for the person is cooking food.

another put in spices - Since the spices contribute flavor to the food, adding them to the pot is sufficient to make one liable for cooking, even according to the opinions that do not accept the explanation of the Kessef Mishneh.

and another stirred it - for stirring hastens the cooking process. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 318:18) emphasizes that one is liable for stirring only when the food is not completely cooked. Once it is cooked, there is no prohibition against stirring.

The Ramah (loc. cit.) states that even after food is completely cooked, one should not stir it. The later authorities emphasize that although there is reason to follow this stringency with regard to stirring, there is no difficulty in removing food from the pot if it is already cooked and removed from the fire. (While the pot is cooking this is forbidden, for in the process of taking out the food, one will stir the remaining food.) See Chapter 3, Halachah 11.

all are liable for cooking, since anyone who performs an activity that is necessary for cooking is considered as [having performed that forbidden labor].

If, by contrast, one put down the pot, another came - According to the Kessef Mishneh, this is the key phrase in understanding the difference between the first clause and the second. "Another came" - i.e., he came after, and without any connection, to the first individual. Hence, the responsibility is not shared by the entire group. Accordingly, since the actions of the persons mentioned first could not bring about cooking in their own right, they are not held liable.

and added water, another came and added meat, another came and added spices, another came and brought fire - The person bringing the fire would probably be liable for kindling, but that is not the Rambam's concern in this halachah. He is not liable for cooking, for without the wood the flame would burn out in the near future.

another came and placed wood on the fire - Once the wood begins to burn, the fire will have the potential to cook the meat. Hence, the person who brings it is liable.

and another came and stirred - Since the person stirred the food after it began to cook, he is liable. Although he acted independently of the others, the act he performs in its own right is sufficient to incur liability.

it is only the latter two who are liable for cooking.

Halacha 5

When a person places meat over coals, and a portion the size of a dried fig becomes [thoroughly] roasted, he is liable even when the portions that are roasted are [separate, and located] in two or three portions [of the piece of meat].17

When there is not a portion the size of a dried fig that has become [thoroughly] roasted, but the entire [piece of meat] becomes half-cooked,18 one is liable.19 If, however, it is half-cooked from one side only, one is not liable until one turns it so that it becomes half-cooked on both sides.

If a person forgot20 and attached a loaf to an oven on the Sabbath, but remembered [the prohibition involved afterwards], he21 may remove it22 before it bakes23 and causes [him to be liable for performing a forbidden] labor.

Halacha 6

A person who melts even the slightest amount of metal or who heats a piece of metal until [it glows like] a coal24 performs a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of cooking.25 Similarly, a person who melts wax, tallow, tar, brown tar, or pitch, and the like performs a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of cooking and is liable.

Similarly, a person who heats an earthenware utensil until it becomes hard clay is liable for cooking. The general principle is: Whether one softens a firm entity with fire or hardens a soft entity, one is liable for cooking.

Halacha 7

One who shears wool26 or hair from an animal or a beast - whether alive or dead - is liable. [This applies even when he] removes [these substances] from skin.27

What is the minimum measure for which one is liable? Enough to spin a thread that is twice the length of a width of a sit from it.28 How long is the width of a sit? The distance from the thumb to the first finger when they are extended as far as possible.29 This is approximately two thirds of a zeret.30

A person who tears off the wing of a bird [is liable for performing] a derivative of shearing. One who spins wool from a living animal31 is not liable, for this is not the ordinary manner of shearing, nor is this the ordinary manner of beating, nor is this the ordinary manner of spinning.

Halacha 8

A person who cuts his nails, his hair, his mustache, or his beard [performs a] derivative [of the forbidden labor] of shearing and is liable.32 [This applies] provided one cuts them using a utensil. If one removes them by hand, one is not liable.33 [The above applies regarding both] one's own [nails and the like] and those of a colleague.34

Similarly, a person who cuts a wart from his body, whether using a utensil35 or by hand is not liable. [The above applies regarding both] one's own [warts] and those of a colleague.

It is permitted to remove a wart in the Temple by hand,36 but not with a utensil. If it is dry, one may cut it off with a utensil,37 [in order to] take part in the Temple service.

Halacha 9

How much hair is it necessary for a person to remove with a utensil to be liable? Two hairs.38 If one removes a grey hair from dark ones, one is liable for removing even one.39

[The following rules apply to] a nail when the majority of it has been split, or to strips of flesh that have begun to peel: If they have split upward40 and annoy the person, one may remove them by hand, but not with a utensil. If, however, one removes them with a utensil, one is not liable.41

If they do not annoy the person, it is forbidden to remove them even by hand. If the majority has not been split [nor has begun to peel], it is forbidden to remove them even by hand, and one who removes them with a utensil is liable.

Halacha 10

A person who whitens wool, linen, wool to be dyed crimson,42 or any other fabrics that are ordinarily whitened is liable.

What is the minimum measure for which one is liable? [An amount of fibers large enough] to produce a thread as long as twice the width of a sit - i.e., four handbreadths.43

Halacha 11

Laundering clothes is a derivative of the [forbidden] labor of whitening and causes one to be liable.

A person who wrings out a garment until the water44 [absorbed] in it is discharged is considered as one who launders45and is held liable.46 Wringing out [a garment] is one of the activities necessary for laundering, as stirring is one of the activities necessary for cooking.

There is no concept of wringing out hair.47 Similarly, one is not liable for wringing out leather.48

Halacha 12

One who beats49 wool, linen, wool to be dyed crimson, or any other similar fabrics is liable. What is the minimum measure for which one is liable? [An amount of fibers large enough] to produce a thread four handbreadths long.

A person who beats animal sinews until they become like wool, so that [cord]50 can be spun from them, is liable for performing a derivative of beating.

Halacha 13

A person who dyes a thread that is four handbreadths long or fabric from which a thread of this length can be spun is liable.

A person is not liable unless the dye he uses will make a permanent [change in the article's color]. When the application of color will not have a permanent effect - e.g., one who applies red clay or vermilion to iron or brass and colors it is not liable, for it can be removed immediately without dyeing it at all. Whenever a person performs a labor that does not have a permanent effect on the Sabbath,51 he is not liable.52

Halacha 14

A person who creates a color is liable [for performing] a derivative of the labor of dyeing.53 What is implied? One mixed gallnut juice into vitriol54 until the entire mixture turned black, or mixed isatis55 into saffron water56 until the entire mixture turned green and the like.

What is the minimum measure for which one is liable? [An amount of dye large enough] to dye a thread four handbreadths long.

Halacha 15

A person who spins a thread four handbreadths long from any fibers [from] which [thread] is spun is liable. This includes spinning wool, linen, [camel] hair, goat's hair,57 animal sinews, and any other fibers of this nature.

A person who makes felt is liable for [performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of spinning if he makes felt from fibers that could be used to spin a thread of ordinary thickness that is four handbreadths long.58

Halacha 16

A person who makes two heddles is liable.59

A person who makes a sifter, a strainer, a basket, a hairnet, or one who weaves a rope bed [performs] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of making heddles;60 when he makes two frames of any one of the above, he is liable. Similarly, a person who makes two frames of any object that is made frame by frame like the above is liable.

Halacha 17

Weavers generally stretch out the threads [of the warp] to the desired length and width of the fabric. Two people hold [the beams to which the ends of the threads are connected], one from one side and one from the other side. A person beats the threads with a rod and aligns them so that they lie one next to the other, [all of the] warp threads without the woof.

Extending the threads as the weavers do is called mounting the warp. A person who [extends these threads] so they are taut is called one who sets the warp. Bending [the loom] and inserting the woof between the warp [threads] is called weaving.

Halacha 18

The person who mounts the warp is liable. This is one of the [39] primary categories of [forbidden] labor. The person who beats the threads until they separate and then aligns them performs a derivative of mounting the warp.61 What is the minimum measure for which one is liable? Preparing a fabric that is two fingerbreadths wide.62

Similarly, a person is liable for weaving two threads [of a fabric] two fingerbreadths wide. [The above applies] whether one began the weaving [of a garment] or whether one wove two additional threads on a garment that had already been begun by another weaver. If one wove only a single thread, but completed the garment by doing so, one is liable.63

If one weaves two threads a width of three frames at the end of a fabric, one is liable.64 To what can this be compared? To weaving a thin belt, three frames wide.

Halacha 19

A person who straightens the threads and separates them in the midst of the weaving process [performs] a derivative [of the labor] of weaving.65

Similarly, one who braids hair [performs] a derivative [of the labor] of weaving.66 The measure for which one is liable is making a braid two fingerbreadths long.

Halacha 20

One who is בוצע two threads is liable. בוצע refers to the separation of woven fabric.67 One is liable for [the labor of] בוצע whether one removes the woof from the warp or the warp from woof.

[The above applies provided that] one is not acting with a destructive [intent], but rather with the intent to improve [the garment]. For example, there are people who mend [tears in] very light garments. First, they undo the weave. Afterwards, they mend the garment, and then reweave the threads that they undid.68 [In this manner,] they join two garments or two tears together.

A person who undoes a braid for the sake of fixing it [performs] a derivative [of the labor] of בוצע.69 The minimum measure for which one is liable is the same as the minimum measure for בוצע.

FOOTNOTES
1.

According to the opinion that reckons only the labors necessary for the construction of the Sanctuary, cooking - and not baking - was the labor performed. Nevertheless, as mentioned in the commentary on Chapter 7, Halachah 1, the Mishnah (and, therefore, the Rambam) mentioned these activities in the order associated with the preparation of bread, for this was more common (Shabbat 74b).

2.

As obvious from the continuation of the halachah, the intent is not to boil the water, but to warm it enough so that it is comfortable to use for washing.

3.

The Mayim Chayim states that generally water was heated for the purpose of washing. (Although hot drinks were served in that age as well, the "cooking" of these beverages involves mixing in other ingredients.) Note the S'dei Chemed (Vol. III, Section 1, Chapter 230), which questions whether heating water (for purposes other than washing) is prohibited by the Torah.

4.

As stated in Chapter 18, Halachah 2, this refers to the amount of water necessary to wash the small toe of a newborn baby.

5.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's statements, stating that our Sages (Tosefta, Shabbat, Chapter 10) mentioned a minimum measure, the amount necessary to dye a small cloth used as a hair-net. The Lechem Mishneh attempts to resolve the difference of opinion, explaining that the Rambam also recognizes that measure (as reflected in Chapter 18, Halachah 2). Depending on the nature of the dye used, however, there is a difference in the amount of cooking necessary to dye the cloth.

Rav Kapach accepts the principle stated by the Lechem Mishneh, but notes that the minimum measure for dyeing is specifically stated by the Rambam in Halachah 14 of this chapter as "enough to dye a thread four handbreadths long."

6.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 3:2), the Rambam translates the Hebrew תתגלגל as referring to "mixing" or to "becoming slightly cooked."

7.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam explains that the kettle had already been removed from the fire. Nevertheless, because it remained hot from the fire's heat, it is considered a "derivative of fire."

8.

Before the era of refrigeration, salt was used a preservative. Rashi (Shabbat 145b) states that this refers to fish that was preserved by salt for over a year.

9.

Our text is based on Rav Kapach's translation of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Machshirin 6:3. Other commentaries offer different translations.

10.

Note Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 6:4, where the Rambam mentions small fish whose cooking is completed by washing them with hot water. Perhaps there he is also referring to sole. Alternatively, perhaps even large sole can be prepared merely by pouring hot water over them.

11.

Even if the food cooks thoroughly, one is not liable, because this is not the ordinary way food is cooked.

12.

Were one to be allowed to cook by using substances warmed by the sun, one might err and cook using substances warmed by fire. It is, however, permitted to leave food to be cooked by the sun itself (Shabbat 39a; Hilchot Shabbat, Chapter 22, Halachah 9).

13.

Although one of the Sages states that a person who cooks in the hot springs of Tiberias is liable, the Talmud immediately clarifies that the intent is "liable for 'stripes for rebelliousness,' the punishment given for violating a Rabbinic ordinance (Shabbat 40b).

14.

This statement implies that until the food is completely cooked, one is liable for cooking. This relates one of the points of difference between the Rambam and the Ashkenazic halachic authorities who were cited in our commentary on Chapter 3, Halachah 4. The latter maintain that since food that is one-third or one-half cooked is fit to be eaten, there are leniencies with regard to the laws governing leaving food to warm on the Sabbath and returning food to a fire on the Sabbath. The Rashba (as quoted by the Maggid Mishneh) develops this view further and maintains that once food has reached this stage of being cooked, one is not liable for cooking it further.

The Rambam (Chapter 22, Halachah 8), however, maintains that if food has been completely cooked one may place it in hot water on the Sabbath to warm. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 318:4), however, follows the view of the Ashkenazic authorities who accept this leniency only when the food is dry. The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:5) also questions if this leniency also applies with regard to food that was baked or roasted.

15.

Shabbat 40b mentions this principle with regard to oil. Other examples are fresh fruits and vegetables that are usually eaten raw (Rabbi Akiva Eiger).

16.

As mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 3, the use of the term "not liable," פטור in Hebrew, also implies that this activity is forbidden according to Rabbinic decree. Thus, recooking food or cooking fresh produce on the Sabbath is definitely forbidden.

17.

Although the places where the meat cooked are separate, their size is combined, and the person is held liable if the sum reaches the size of a dried fig.

18.

This is the Rambam's definition of the term used by our Sages' כמאכל בן דרוסאי, "like the food of ben D'rosai." Rashi (Shabbat 20a) relates that ben D'rosai was a wanted bandit who would eat his food hurriedly because he was always running to avoid detection.

Significantly, Rashi interprets כמאכל בן דרוסאי as being only one-third cooked. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 254:2) and many later authorities quote the Rambam's view. The Mishnah Berurah 253:38, however, states that in a difficult situation, one may rely on Rashi's opinion.

19.

Since the meat can be eaten in its present state, one is liable for cooking it.

20.

The addition of this term is significant. Shabbat 4a also mentions this law in an instance when one purposely violated the Sabbath laws. The Rambam explains that this leniency applies even when one performed such an activity בשוגג. (See the Maggid Mishneh; note also the Lechem Mishneh's objections.)

21.

But not a colleague (Magen Avraham 254:21). Since removing the loaf from the wall of the oven in previous eras involved a Rabbinic prohibition (as mentioned in Chapter 22, Halachah 1), this was forbidden. A person is not allowed to sin so that his colleague will merit.

22.

The Rabbis explain that it is desirable to remove the bread in an abnormal manner, because of the prohibition mentioned above. Nevertheless, if it is impossible to do so before the loaf bakes, one may remove it in the ordinary fashion so that one does not transgress the prohibition against baking (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 254:12; Mishnah Berurah 254:41).

It must be emphasized that the baking procedure followed today is different from that referred to by the Rambam. At present, there is no prohibition involved in removing a loaf placed in the oven to bake.

23.

The commentaries question when a person becomes liable for baking. Is it when a crust forms (see Chapter 3, Halachah 18), or must the loaf bake thoroughly? (See Tosafot, Menachot 57b, which compares the forming of a crust to food cooking to the point of being כמאכל בן דרוסאי.)

24.

The commentaries question the difference between this point and the ruling of Chapter 12, Halachah 1, that a person who heats iron is liable for kindling. Rav Kapach explains that the difference depends on the nature of the metals involved. All other metals are made more pliable when heated. Iron, in contrast, becomes harder when heated and then placed into water. Therefore, its processing is associated with the labors of kindling and extinguishing, which have to do with making charcoal. (See the commentary on that halachah.)

25.

This halachah emphasizes that the forbidden labor of cooking applies to substances other than food. The Rambam explains this concept in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2) when defining the nature of the forbidden categories of labor.

26.

The Rambam has concluded his description of the eleven categories of forbidden labors associated with the preparation of food, and with this halachah begins discussion of the categories of forbidden labors associated with the preparation of clothing.

27.

I.e., a surface where hair or wool that would be useful for making a garment does not grow.

28.

This is the minimum measure for which one is liable for performing the labors associated with making thread.

29.

In three different places in his Commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam defines the term "the width of a sit": Orlah 3:2, Shabbat 13:4, and Keilim 13:4. In these sources, he defines the width of sit as he does in this halachah. (See also Halachah 10 where the Rambam states that twice this measure is equivalent to four handbreadths.)

In the sources mentioned above, and similarly in Halachah 18, the Rambam differentiates between the terms sit and "the width of a sit." Note that Rashi defines both these measures differently.

30.

A zeret is defined as the distance between one's thumb and pinky when one's hand is fully extended. This is understood to be half a cubit, three handbreadths (24 centimeters according to Shiurei Torah, 30 centimeters according to Chazon Ish).

31.

Although the women preparing the goats' hair for the Sanctuary spun it while it was on the goats themselves (see commentaries to Exodus 35:26), one is not liable for performing such an activity on the Sabbath, for this is not the ordinary manner in which one spins thread (Shabbat 74b).

32.

As mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 7, the Rambam holds one liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה, a forbidden labor for a purpose different from the purpose for which the labor was performed in the Sanctuary. In the notes on that halachah, it is explained that this decision is not shared by all authorities.

According to the authorities who differ, there is a difference of opinion whether or not one is liable for cutting one's hair and nails. Tosafot (Shabbat 94b) maintains that in the construction of the Sanctuary, the labor of shearing was performed for the sake of the wool. Therefore, unless a person had a need for his hair or nails, he would not be held liable. The Rivash (Responsum 394), however, explains that before they were used, the tachash skins were shaved to remove the hair. Hence, if one cuts off one's hair or nails for cosmetic purposes, one is liable. (See, however, the notes on Chapter 11, Halachah 5, which differentiate between the forbidden labor of shearing and the forbidden labor of smoothing.)

33.

Since this is not the usual way of cutting hair or nails, one is not liable. (See also Chapter 22, Halachot 13-14, which discuss the Rabbinical prohibitions involved with cutting hair.)

34.

The popularly accepted text of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 10:7) states that one who removes a colleague's hair or nails is liable even if he does so by hand. Rav Kapach maintains that the original text of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah in fact makes such a statement, but that the Rambam amended the text, and the final version resembles the rulings of this halachah.

35.

The Maggid Mishneh protests the decision that a person who cuts off a wart with a utensil is not liable, pointing to Eruvin 103a, which appears to obligate one for such an activity.

The Radbaz (Vol. V, Responsum 1521) explains the Rambam's ruling, stating that this applies only in the Temple. A wart is considered a blemish that makes an animal unfit for sacrifice and a priest unfit for service (see Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 7:10), and by removing the wart one becomes fit for service. Thus, one is liable, not for performing the forbidden labor of shearing, but for the labor of מכה בפטיש, making an entity ready for use. (See also the Tzafenat Paneach, who offers a similar interpretation.)

Note, however, Shulchan Aruch Harav 340:3 and the Mishnah Berurah 340:6, which state that the liability for cutting a wart stems from the forbidden labor of shearing.

36.

Not only is one freed of liability, but doing so is permitted, because this is not the ordinary process. Although outside the Temple, this would be forbidden as a sh'vut (Rabbinic decree), there are no such restrictions in the Temple.

37.

Note the Ma'aseh Rokeach, which states that since the wart was dry and shriveled, it is considered as if it had been removed already. Nevertheless, as Shulchan Aruch HaRav (loc cit.) and the Mishnah Berurah (loc cit.) state that outside the Temple it is forbidden to remove a wart even if it is dry and shriveled.

38.

Two hairs are significant, and, therefore, one who cuts them off is held liable.

39.

Since one desires to appear young, removing even a single grey hair is significant. This applies to both men and women. Note also the Rambam's statements in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:10, which prohibit a male from doing this even during the week, since by doing so, he would be adorning himself as a woman does.

40.

Note the gloss of Rav David Arameah and also the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 328:31), which questions whether "upward" means towards the end of the finger or towards the body. Since there is no clear cut answer, one must act stringently; in practice, it is forbidden to remove such a nail at all (Mishnah Berurah 328:99).

41.

Since the majority of the nail has split or the skin has peeled, the remainder is considered as if it has already been removed according to the Torah. The prohibition against removing it is merely Rabbinic in nature and is waived because of the annoyance the person is suffering when he removes them by hand - i.e., in an abnormal manner (Mishnah Berurah 328:96).

42.

Our translation follows the Biblical meaning of the word שני. There is, however, a difficulty - what is the difference between this fabric and ordinary wool. The Avnei Nezer (Orach Chayim 157) explains that this refers to wool that has already been dyed crimson. Others note that at times שני can also refer to silk. See Rav Kapach's notes to Hilchot Sefer Torah 9:3.

43.

See Halachah 7.

44.

Note the Kessef Mishneh, who states that according to the Rambam, this prohibition applies also to liquids other than water.

This is a matter of question. Tosafot (Ketubot 6a) and the Tur (Orach Chayim 320), differ, and maintain that one is liable only for wringing out water.

45.

The Maggid Mishneh notes that the Rashba and others view wringing out liquids as related to two different forbidden labors. According to these authorities, wringing out water is a derivative of laundering, while wringing out other liquids relates to the forbidden labor of threshing.

The Ramban, however, states that although squeezing juice from fruits is considered to be a derivative of threshing, squeezing liquids other than water from garments is not. Some commentaries have associated this with the principle mentioned in Chapter 8, Halachah 7, "[The forbidden labor of] threshing applies only with regard to the earth's produce."

46.

See Chapter 22, Halachah 15, which mentions the Rabbinic prohibitions enacted as safeguards for the Torah prohibition against wringing out liquid.

47.

Rashi (Shabbat 128b) explains that hair never absorbs water.

48.

The Avnei Nezer (Responsum 157) explains that since the Rambam considers wringing out liquids as a derivative of whitening, this will apply only when wringing out the liquid will affect the color of the entity from which one is extracting it. This will not happen with regard to hair or leather.

It must be noted that the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 302:9) forbids rubbing leather to clean it. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 302:19 states this is merely a Rabbinic prohibition (thus following the Rambam's view). The Mishnah Berurah 302:39,42, however, differs and maintains that one is liable for such an act.

49.

Our translation of the Hebrew נפץ is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2). Since these fabrics are natural, beating them makes them more pliable. Other authorities translate נפץ as "comb" - i.e., comb impurities from the fibers.

50.

Cord made from animal sinews is used to sew Torah scrolls and tefillin.

51.

We have translated the Rambam's wording literally, although it appears somewhat clumsy, because of a concept that can be derived from it. Permanence is a relative concept in our world. Hence, when a person performs an activity that appears permanent on the Sabbath itself, he can be held liable for it although later there is a possibility for change (Rav Kapach).

52.

Shabbat 12:1 states, "Anyone who performs a labor - and that labor has an enduring effect on the Sabbath - is liable."

53.

The source for the Rambam's ruling is a matter of question. The Maggid Mishneh mentions Shabbat 18a, which states that a person who mixes a concentrate of ink with water is liable.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's decision, noting that although in the construction of the Sanctuary, the dyes were made by cooking the herbs in water, the Talmud states that one is liable only for cooking and does not mention the dyeing of the water.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that in truth, a person would be liable for two transgressions by cooking dyes: for cooking and for dyeing the water. The Talmud mentions cooking only, because that is the subject of the discussion. Rav Kapach offers a unique explanation, stating that the Rambam is not speaking about instances when water is dyed through cooking, but when two liquids of different colors are mixed to cause a new tint.

There are authorities [Ginat Veradim (Section 3, Chapter 9) and HaElef Lecha Shlomo] who accept the Rambam's ruling and on this basis state that one should not make tea or coffee on the Sabbath, for one is coloring the water. The Mishnah Berurah 318:39 and the K'tzot HaShulchan state emphatically that there is no concept of dyeing foods.

54.

Vitriol is produced by the rusting of metals. As mentioned in Hilchot Tefillin 1:4, when both these substances are mixed together, a black ink which leaves a permanent mark is produced.

55.

A plant producing a deep blue dye.

56.

Which is yellow.

57.

Others render the Hebrew notzah as "down."

58.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's ruling. Rav Levi ibn Chaviv supports the Rambam's position, explaining that the intertwining of fibers necessary to make felt resembles spinning.

59.

The Hebrew בתי נירין is generally translated as "houses of string." In the weaving process, it refers to the following practice: Weaving involves passing the threads of the woof over and under each of the consecutive threads of the warp. In order to facilitate this process, two frames are made, each possessing many threads with a loop (referred to as a "heddle") in the middle of these threads. The threads of the warp are passed through these loops, one from one frame, and next from the other consecutively. (See also Rav Kapach's commentary, which explains that nir in Arabic means woof. Thus בתי נירין would mean "houses for the woof" - i.e., holes through which the woof thread is passed.)

When this is completed, the weaver lifts the two frames alternately. As he raises one up, he passes the woof through. In this manner, he is able to thread the woof through the entire warp at one time. (See the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 7:2 and Keilim 21:1.)

60.

All these objects are made by weaving materials other than thread. It is questionable why the Rambam considers them as derivatives of this category of forbidden labor and not the labor of weaving.

61.

This halachah presents a unique question with regard to the authenticity of the different versions of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2). The popular version of the text cites Shabbat 75b, which relates that the number of categories of forbidden labor, "forty minus one," is repeated at the conclusion of the Mishnah to negate the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah, who maintains that beating the threads of the warp and straightening them (see Halachah 19) should be considered as categories of forbidden labor. Instead, they are derivatives of the labors of mounting the warp and weaving.

In his version of the Commentary on the Mishnah, which is based on authoritative manuscripts, Rav Kapach states that these two activities are derivatives of מכה בפטיש , "completing a task." (See Chapter 10, Halachah 16.) According to this version of the text, originally the Rambam relied on another source and later, when authoring the Mishneh Torah, he changed his opinion based on the Talmud.

62.

Shabbat 13:4 states that a person is liable for weaving the fullness of a sit. In his Commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam differentiates between "the width of a sit" as defined in Halachah 7, and "the fullness of a sit." The latter term refers to the distance between the thumb and the index finger when open, but not stretched. This is two fingerbreadths. [Note Rashi (Shabbat 105b) who offers a different interpretation.]

63.

Since one completes the garment with this thread, one's actions are significant despite being slight.

64.

Here also, although the weaving does not have the width normally required, since it is significant (for it makes a hem), one is held liable.

65.

See the notes on the previous halachah, which discuss the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2).

66.

This refers to hair that has been cut already. Braiding hair that is still attached to a person's head is forbidden by the Rabbis. (See Chapter 22, Halachah 26.)

67.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's definition of this activity. He offers a definition similar to that of Rashi, Shabbat 73a, stating that בוצע resembles פוצע and refers to cutting off the remaining unwoven threads after the weaving process is completed.

68.

When a garment is mended in this fashion, the mending is hard to detect, because it is rewoven.

69.

As mentioned previously, every category of labor has a derivative. If braiding is a derivative of weaving, one may assume that unbraiding is a derivative of unweaving.

Shabbos - Chapter Ten

Halacha 1

A person who ties a knot which is intended to remain permanently and which can be tied [only] by craftsmen1 is liable. Included in this category are the knots tied by camel drivers, the knots tied by seamen, the knots tied by shoemakers when making shoes and sandals.2

One who ties a knot that is intended to remain permanently, but does not require a craftsmen [to tie it], is not liable. A knot that will not remain permanently and does not require a craftsman may be tied with no compunctions.

Halacha 2

How is [the intermediate category] defined? If one of a person's sandal straps tore and he tied it, a rope tore and one tied it, one tied a rope to a bucket, or one tied the bridle of an animal, the person is not liable. The same applies to all other knots that do not require professional expertise, but are always tied with the intention that they remain permanently.3

Any knot that is not intended to remain permanently is forbidden to be tied using a knot that requires professional expertise.4

Halacha 3

A woman may tie the opening of her cloak although it has two openings.5 She may tie the strands of a hairnet although it hangs loosely on her head.6

One may tie the straps of shoes and sandals that are tied around one's foot when donning them.7 One may tie pouches of wine and pouches of oil although they have two protrusions.8 One may tie a pot of meat although it is possible to remove the meat without untying the knot.9

One may tie a bucket with a linen cord, a belt or another similar entity, but not with an ordinary rope.10 One may tie a rope before an animal or tie it to an animal's foot so that it will not go out, although this involves two knots.11

If a rope is tied to a cow, one may tie it to its feeding trough. If a rope is tied to a feeding trough, one may tie it to a cow. One may not, however, bring a rope from one's home and tie it to [both] a cow and a feeding trough. If, however, one has a weaver's rope which one is permitted to carry,12 one may bring it and tie it to both the cow and the feeding trough.

[The rationale for these laws is that] all [the above] knots do not require professional expertise, nor are they intended to remain. On the contrary, a person ties them and unties them at will. Therefore, it is permitted to tie them with no compunctions.

One may untie the openings of baskets of dates and dried figs, break off or cut off the cord, take them and eat them.13

Halacha 4

Any substance that is fit to be used as animal fodder may be used for tying on the Sabbath.14 Therefore, if the straps of a person's sandals snapped in a carmelit, he may take a moist reed15 that is fit to be eaten by an animal, wind it around [the sandal] and tie it.16

If a sandal strap slips from its place, or one's foot slips from the sandal, one may return the strap to its place,17 provided one does not tie a knot.18

Halacha 5

It is permitted to tie a loop [on the Sabbath],19 for it will not be interchanged with a knot.20 Therefore, if a rope snapped, one may gather the the two ends together, wind a linen cord around them and tie a loop.21

Halacha 6

It is permissible to tie a knot that is not permanent in nature for the purpose of a mitzvah.22 For example, one may tie a knot to calibrate one of the Torah's measures.23

One may tie a harp string that snaps in the Temple,24 but not anywhere else. One may not tie a harp string for the first time on the Sabbath, even in the Temple.

Halacha 7

A person is liable for untying any knot that he is liable for tying.25 Whenever a person is not liable for tying a knot, he is not liable for untying it. Whenever a person is permitted to tie a knot, he is permitted to untie it.26

Halacha 8

A person who winds together a rope from palm branches, love grass,27 strands of wool, strands of flax, strands of goat's hair or the like is liable for performing a derivative of the [forbidden] labor of tying.28

The minimum measure for which one is liable is a length of rope sufficient to remain wound without being tied, for then the work the person performed is permanent.29

Similarly, a person who unwinds cords performs a derivative of the forbidden labor of untying and is liable. [This applies] provided one's intent is not merely destructive in nature.30 The minimum measure for which one is liable is the same as that for winding a cord.

Halacha 9

A person who sews two stitches is liable,31 provided he ties32 the stitches at both ends so that they will remain and not slip out.33 If, however, one sews an additional stitch, one is liable even if one did not tie [the ends], for one's stitching will remain.

A person who pulls taut a thread used for sewing34 on the Sabbath is liable, because this activity is necessary for sewing.

Halacha 10

A person who tears [a length of a garment] sufficient to tie two stitches35 for the sake of tying two stitches is liable.36 In contrast, one who tears with the intent to ruin is not liable, for [his activity] is destructive in nature.37

A person who tears in a fit of rage or [one who rends his garments] for the sake of a deceased person for whom he is required to rend his garments38 is liable, for by doing so he settles his mind and calms his natural inclination. Since his anger is soothed through this act, it is considered to be constructive in nature and he is liable.39

A person who makes an opening for a neck [in a garment] on the Sabbath is liable.40

Halacha 11

A person who attaches paper or hides together with scribe's glue and the like is liable for performing a derivative of the forbidden labor of sewing.41

Conversely, a person who separates papers or hides that are stuck together is liable for performing a derivative of the forbidden labor of tearing42 if his intent is not merely destructive.

Halacha 12

A person is liable for building even the slightest amount.43

A person who levels the floor inside a house is liable.44 Whether he lowers a raised piece of earth or fills a cavity, he is considered to be building and is liable.

When one person places down a stone and another the mortar, the one who places down the mortar is liable.45 For the highest row [of stones], one is liable merely for lifting up the stone and placing it on the mortar, since other mortar is not placed upon it.

A person who builds on a base of utensils is not liable.46

Halacha 13

A person who erects a permanent tent is liable for performing a derivative47 [of the forbidden labor] of building.48

Similarly, a person who fashions an earthenware utensil - e.g., an oven or a jug - before they are fired [in a kiln] is liable for performing a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of building.49

Similarly, one who makes cheese performs a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of building.50 One is not liable until one makes an amount of cheese equivalent to the size of a dried fig.51

A person who inserts the blade of an axe onto its handle or one who performs any similar activity performs a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of building. Similarly, one who attaches one piece of wood to another, whether he attaches them with a nail or by inserting one piece of wood into another until they become a single entity, is liable for performing a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of building.52

Halacha 14

A person who makes even the slightest hole in a chicken coop to let light in is liable for building.53

A person who returns a door of a well, a cistern, or a wing of a building [to its place] is liable for building.54

Halacha 15

A person who demolishes even the slightest amount is liable, provided he demolishes with the intent to build.55 If his intent in demolishing is merely destructive, he is not liable.56

A person who demolishes a permanent tent or separates a piece of wood attached to another is liable for performing a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of demolishing, provided his intent is to improve it [afterwards].57

Halacha 16

A person who gives the [final] blow with a hammer is liable. [Similarly,] a person who performs any activity that represents the completion of a task is liable for performing a derivative of dealing [the final] hammer blow.58

What is implied? A person who blows a glass vessel,59 one makes a design, or even a portion of a design, on a utensil,60 one who planes61 [the edges of a utensil],62 one who makes a hole of even the smallest size in a piece of wood, a building, a piece of metal, or a utensil is liable for performing a derivative of dealing [the final] hammer blow.

One is not liable for making [a hole] unless it can be used to bring in and bring out.63

Halacha 17

A person who pierces a blister on the Sabbath to widen the opening of the wound, as physicians do, with the intent of widening the opening of the wound is liable for performing [a derivative of] dealing [the final] hammer blow,64 for this is a labor performed by a physician.

If one pierced it to remove its pus, [the act] is permitted.65

Halacha 18

One who files a stone66 to even the slightest degree is liable for performing [a derivative of] dealing [the final] hammer blow. A person who aligns a stone in the foundation of a building, adjusting its position with his hands and settling it in its proper place,67 is liable for performing [a derivative of] dealing [the final] hammer blow.

A person who removes threads, straws, or splinters of wood68 from a garment by hand - for example, the splinters that are found in woolen garments - is liable for performing [a derivative of] dealing [the final] hammer blow. [This applies] provided the person is disturbed by them.69 If, however, he removes them as a matter of course, [without thinking,]70 he is not liable.71

A person who shakes out a new black garment to make it attractive and to remove any remnants of white wool72 adhering to it, as is a tailor's practice,73 is liable to bring a sin offering.74 If he is not disturbed by them, it is permissible [to do so].

Halacha 19

A person who traps a living creature from a species that is common to trap75 - e.g., beasts, fowl,76 or fish - is liable77 provided he traps them in a place where no further efforts are required to trap them.

What is implied? One chased after a deer until one caused it to enter a room,78 a garden, or a courtyard, and one locked it inside, one caused a fowl to fly into a closet and locked it, one removed a fish from the sea and placed it in a bowl of water. [In all these instances,] the person is liable.79

If, however, a person caused a bird to fly into a room and locked it, caused a fish to swim from the sea into a pool of water, or chased a deer until he caused it to enter a large hall, and locked it, he is not liable. [The living creature] is not completely trapped, for if he to desired to take it, he would have to chase it and trap it in [this new place].80 Therefore, a person who traps a lion is not liable until he causes it to enter the pen in which it will be enclosed.

Halacha 20

[The following] - a place in which if a person ran, he could reach the animal in a single movement,81 and a place so narrow that the shadow of both walls would merge in the middle - are considered to be small places. If one chased a deer or the like into such a place, one is liable. If a place is larger than this, a person who chases an animal or a fowl into it is not liable.

Halacha 21

[The following principle applies regarding] the eight creeping animals mentioned in the Torah82 and similarly, other creeping animals and crawling things:83 When a species is usually trapped, a person who traps any one of them - whether for a purpose, or without a purpose, even merely for the sake of sport - is liable, since he intended to trap and actually did so.84 A person is liable for performing a [forbidden] labor even if he has no need for the actual labor he performed.85

A person who traps an animal that is sleeping or a blind animal is liable.86

Halacha 22

When a person sends out dogs to trap deer, rabbits, and the like, the deer flees because of the dog,87 and the person chases after the deer or stands before it and as such, frightens it so that the dog can catch it,88 he is liable for [performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of trapping.89 The same applies with regard to [trapping] fowl.

Halacha 23

When a deer enters a room and one person closes90 it, the latter is liable.91 If two people close it, they are not liable. If the door cannot be closed by a single person and they both close it, they are both liable.92

When one person sat in the entrance and did not block it, and a second person sat down and blocked it, the second person is liable.93

When the one person blocks the entrance when he sits down, and a second person sits down next to him [in a manner that also obstructs the entrance], the first person [alone] is liable.94 [This applies] even if he later rises and leaves, [and the second person remains blocking the entrance],95 for the second person has not done anything. He is permitted to remain seated in the doorway until the evening and then take the deer.96 To what could this be compared? To one who locks his house to protect it and finds a trapped deer inside.97

If a fowl enters under the edge of a person's clothes, he may [continue] sitting and watch it until nightfall.98 It is [then] permitted [to take it].

Halacha 24

A person who traps a deer that is old, limping, sick, or small is not liable.99

A person who releases an animal, a beast, or a fowl from a trap is not liable.100 A person who traps a beast or a fowl that is in his domain - e.g., ducks, chickens, or doves from a cote - is not liable.101 A person who traps a living being whose species is not usually trapped - e.g., locusts,102 wild bees, hornets, mosquitoes, fleas, and the like - is not liable.103

Halacha 25

Crawling beasts that are dangerous - e.g., snakes, scorpions and the like - may be trapped104 on the Sabbath. [This leniency is granted] even when they are not deadly, but merely bite, provided one's intent is to prevent [someone from] being bitten.105

What should one do? Place a utensil over them, cover them with something, or tie them so they cannot cause damage.

FOOTNOTES
1.

A knot that requires professional expertise and cannot be tied by an untrained person.

2.

The fishermen who would catch chilazon that were necessary for the construction of the Sanctuary would tie their nets with special knots that required professional expertise. Similarly, these knots were intended to remain permanently. Therefore, tying such a knot is considered a category of forbidden labor.

It must be emphasized that Rashi and Rabbenu Asher do not accept the criteria mentioned here by the Rambam (which are based on the Halachot of Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi from Shabbat 111b). They maintain that tying a knot with the intention that it remain permanently causes one to be liable if the knot is strong enough to remain, even though tying the knot does not require professional expertise.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 317:1) follows the Rambam's perspective. The Ramah, however, rules according to the view of Rashi and Rabbenu Asher.

3.

According to Rashi and Rabbenu Asher, one would be liable for tying such knots.

4.

Rabbi Yosef Korcus explains the difference between the two clauses of this halachah. Since the knots mentioned in the first clause are intended to last permanently, one would think that one is liable. Therefore, the Rambam emphasizes that one is not.

By contrast, since the knots mentioned in the second clause are not intended to last permanently, one would think that it is permitted to tie them. Hence, the Rambam emphasizes that this is forbidden.

5.

This law - and most of the subsequent clauses of this halachah - are based on Shabbat 15:2. In each of the clauses, the Rambam (based on the Talmud) further develops the concepts stated in the Mishnah.

In this instance, Shabbat 112a explains that such a cloak had two straps, each one extending from one corner of the garment to the other. Since a woman could remove the garment by untying only one strap and slipping it over her head, there is reason to think that one of the knots would be considered as permanent, and therefore forbidden to be tied on the Sabbath. Nevertheless, this hypothesis is not accepted, and tying and untying both knots is permitted.

6.

Shabbat (loc. cit.) relates that these nets are also tied to a woman's hair. Hence, since the net is not tight fitting, it could be slipped off without untying it. Thus one might consider the knot as permanent. Nevertheless, since usually, these nets are untied, there is no difficulty in tying them.

7.

Since they will be untied when the shoes are removed, tying them is permitted.

8.

Shabbat (loc. cit.) explains that the pouches were tied at each of these protrusions. Although the liquid could be removed by opening only one of them, neither of the knots is considered to be permanent, because it was customary to open both knots, for then the liquids flowed more freely.

9.

Shabbat (loc. cit.) states that although the food could be removed from the pot without untying the knot, we do not consider the knot permanent. We assume that the people will follow the usual practice and untie the knots before opening the pot.

10.

It is forbidden to tie a bucket with an ordinary rope, because it is likely that one will leave the rope there permanently. A linen cord, a belt, or another similar entity is not really fit for this purpose. Hence, it is probable that one will untie it after using it (Maggid Mishneh, based on Shabbat 113a).

Even though the Rambam would maintain that tying an ordinary rope to a bucket does not make one liable according to Torah law, there is still reason for this additional decree.

11.

The animal's owner closed the stall by tying a rope before it, tying it to both ends of the entrance (or, according to other commentaries, by tying two ropes). Although the stall could be opened by untying only one knot, we do not assume that the rope(s) will be left there permanently (Shabbat 112b).

12.

This phrase is the key to the Rambam's understanding of this law (which is based on Shabbat 113a). Since tying the animal does not necessitate using a knot that requires professional expertise, the Rambam would not consider it prohibited according to Torah law. And as the Rambam states, since the intention is not to leave the animal tied permanently, there is no reason for even a Rabbinic prohibition. Nevertheless, since it is forbidden to use a rope on the Sabbath unless it was designated for use beforehand, one may not bring a rope from home. If one tied the rope to the animal or to the feeding trough before the commencement of the Sabbath, however, it is obvious that one intended to use it on the Sabbath.

13.

Shabbat 146a explains that dates and dried figs were strung on a cord and placed in palm branch baskets. One may untie the baskets and cut the cords and eat the fruit.

14.

Other substances fit for tying would be muktzeh, forbidden to be carried on the Sabbath.

15.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 24:5), the Rambam explains that a reed will never be used to tie a permanent knot.

16.

This halachah is based on Shabbat 112a, which relates that Rav Yirmiyah saw Rabbi Abahu act in this manner when his sandal strap snapped on the Sabbath. That narrative took place in a carmelit.

The Talmud continues mentioning a situation where Abbaye's sandal strap snapped in a private courtyard and Rav Yosef forbade him to employ a similar technique. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 308:15) mentions both these rulings.

17.

In his gloss on the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 317:2), the Ramah mentions that this is permitted only when it does not involve much effort.

18.

The Magen Avraham 317:8 states that were one to tie a knot, it would be forbidden, because we can assume that the knot would be left permanently.

19.

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 317:5) states that one may even tie a single knot with a loop above it, provided one does not intend to leave it permanently. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 317:3, Mishnah Berurah 317:29.

20.

I.e., there is no reason to decree that a loop is forbidden, lest one tie a knot.

21.

The Kessef Mishneh objects to the Rambam's decision, noting that Shabbat 113a states that if one employs a linen cord, one may tie a knot, but if one employs a rope, one must tie a loop. In his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 317:4), Rav Yosef Karo rules according to his understanding of that passage.

Yad David and others reconcile the Rambam's wording, explaining that he means "wind a linen cord around it, or tie it [i.e., the rope itself] with a loop."

22.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 24:5), the Rambam states that leniency was granted with regard to tying knots that are intended to remain permanently if they are tied for the sake of a mitzvah on the Sabbath. Rashi, by contrast maintains that the Mishnah grants leniency with regard to measuring alone and not with regard to tying knots that are not temporary in nature.

On this basis, this halachah must be interpreted to mean that one is allowed to tie knots that will not remain permanently, even with a knot that requires professional expertise, or a knot that is intended to remain for an extended period if it does not require professional expertise. (See the Be'ur Halachah 317.)

23.

The concluding Mishnah in the tractate of Shabbat states that "In the days of Rabbi Tzadok's father and Abba Shaul ben Botnit, they... tied a cup with a reed to ascertain whether a vat possessed an opening that was a handbreadth in size."

24.

This is not considered a permanent knot, because we assume that after the Sabbath it will be changed. There are opinions in the Talmud (Eruvin 102b) that permit only a loop to be tied. Based on the p rinciple, "Restrictions in the category of sh'vut are not enforced in the Temple," the Rambam, however, chooses the more lenient view (Kessef Mishneh, Or Sameach).

25.

Just as tying is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor, so is untying. Accordingly, all the principles described above concerning tying apply with regard to untying.

26.

Tosafot (Shabbat 73a) states that one is liable only when one unties with the intent of retying, for this was the practice of the chilazon fishermen in the construction of the Sanctuary. Significantly, the Rambam does not mention that requirement. Rashi (Shabbat 74b) rules more stringently, holding one liable even when one does not have the intent of retying the knot immediately. Needless to say, even according to Rashi's view, one must untie the knot for a positive purpose.

27.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's version of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Keilim 17:17).

28.

The commentaries question why this activity is not considered a derivative of the forbidden labor of spinning thread. The Migdal Oz resolves this question by citing as a source the Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat 15:1. That passage relates that an experienced tailor connects two ends of a thread together by undoing their twine, and then rewinding them. Since the tailor's object is to connect the two ends, the activity is considered a derivative of tying.

29.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 13 and Halachah 1 of this chapter.

30.

See Chapter 1, Halachot 17-18.

31.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

32.

Many of the commentaries question why the Rambam does not mention that the person is also liable for tying. It would appear, however, that this knot does not require professional expertise. Furthermore, sewing and not tying, is the subject of the Rambam's statements here.

33.

Only if the stitches are tied at both ends will they remain permanently. Rav Kapach notes that in Hilchot Kilayim 10:24, the Rambam does not require the two stitches to be attached for one to be liable for sha'atnez, echoing a similar ruling of the Mishnah (Kilayim 9:10).

Rav Kapach explains that the obligations of the two prohibitions differ. With regard to sha'atnez, there is no requirement that wool and linen be permanently attached for one to be liable. In contrast, if the forbidden activity one performs on the Sabbath is not lasting in nature, one is not liable.

34.

After one sews several stitches, one pulls the thread taut (Shabbat 75a).

35.

Our translation is based on the gloss of Rabbi Akiva Eiger.

36.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor. Although this activity was performed in the Sanctuary for this purpose, the Rambam maintains that a person who performs a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה is liable. Therefore, he maintains that one is liable even if he tears for other purposes. The Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2), however, describes this forbidden labor as "one who tears to sew two stitches."

37.

See Chapter 1, Halachot 17-18.

38.

The Rambam discusses the obligation to rend one's garments over a deceased person in Hilchot Eivel, Chapters 8 and 9.

39.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 8, and notes.

40.

The Merkevet HaMishnah states that this refers to simply opening up a place for the head in a garment. Since the Rambam maintains that a person who performs a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה is liable, he maintains that a person is liable for cutting such an opening even if he does not sew it.

Rashi (Shabbat 48a) states that one is liable for this activity for performing a derivative of the forbidden category of labor מכה בפטיש, making an entity ready for use. (Rashi cannot hold one liable for tearing, since he differs with the Rambam and maintains that a person who performs a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה is not liable.)

The latter interpretation is reflected in the statements of Rabbenu Avraham, the Rambam's son, quoted in the Ma'aseh Rokeach, which explain that after a garment was completed, the neck was sewed up with temporary stitches to show that it was never worn. When the purchaser desired to put on the garment, these stitches were undone. See also Shulchan Aruch and Ramah (Orach Chayim 317:3).

41.

For just as a person who sews, he attaches two entities to each other.

42.

See the Magen Avraham 340:18, which states that the entities one separates must have been attached to each other with the intent of remaining permanently. Based on a similar rationale, the Chacham Tzvi (Responsum 39) does not hold one liable for opening an envelope, since the flap is not intended to remain permanently closed.

There is a common application of this principle today: the use of disposable baby diapers. Since the flap is not intended to remain permanently closed, fastening it or unfastening it is not considered as related to the forbidden labors of sewing and tearing.

43.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor. One is liable for even the smallest act of construction, because if there was even the slightest nick or hole in one of the walls of the Sanctuary, hot lead would be poured into it to fill it (Shabbat 102b).

44.

For building, since with this activity, he prepares the building's floor. As mentioned in Chapter 8, Halachah 1, a person who performs this activity in a field is liable for plowing.

Significantly, based on Rashi (Eruvin 104a), Shulchan Aruch HaRav 313:24 also holds one liable for performing a derivative of building when one levels the ground in one's yard.

45.

Without the mortar, the stones would not hold in place.

46.

As the source for this halachah, the Maggid Mishneh points to the following passage from the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 7:2, 12:1):

Where was [the forbidden labor of] building found in the Sanctuary? In the placement of the boards in their sockets.

Is this meant to imply that building on a base of utensils is considered building? The sockets are considered as the ground.

From this passage, it is clear that building on a base of utensils is not considered to be building according to Torah law. Note that this law refers to constructing a building by using a utensil as a base. The discussion of whether fashioning a utensil or connecting its parts is a derivative of the forbidden labor of building is discussed in the following halachah and notes.

47.

The commentaries question why the erection of a tent is merely given the status of a derivative and is not considered to be a מעין מלאכה of the forbidden labor of building. The P'nei Yehoshua (Sukkah 16b) explains that a building is a stable structure, while a tent is far more fragile in nature.

The Even HaEzel explains that building involves two actions:

a) joining separate entities into a single whole;

b) spreading a roof over a structure.

Constructing a structure - or part of a structure - which contains both these actions is considered to be building proper. If either - but only one - of the two is involved, the act is deemed a derivative. Thus, erecting a tent is considered a derivative, because it involves spreading a roof, and making cheese is considered a derivative, because it involves joining separate entities into a single whole.

48.

Significantly, neither in this halachah nor in Chapter 22, Halachah 27, when he mentions the Rabbinic prohibition against erecting a temporary tent does the Rambam explain whether the concept of permanence depends on the strength of the structure or the intent of the builder. It appears that he relies on his statements in Chapter 9, Halachah 13, "Whenever one performs a labor that does not have a permanent effect on the Sabbath, one is not liable." (See the notes on that halachah.)

49.

Beitzah 22a relates a difference of opinion between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai. The School of Shammai maintains that one is liable for performing a derivative of the forbidden labor of building when fashioning a utensil, while the School of Hillel rejects this thesis: "There is no [concept of] building with regard to utensils."

There is, however, a difference of opinion between the Rabbis about the interpretation of this statement. Rashi understands the statement simply. Fashioning a utensil can never be a derivative of building. One is liable for making a utensil, but one's liability stems from the forbidden labor of מכה בפטיש, completing a utensil. This view is shared by Rav Hai Gaon, Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi (according to Rabbenu Nissim), and others.

As obvious from this halachah, the Rambam differs and maintains that one is liable for building when fashioning a utensil. The leniency mentioned by the School of Hillel refers only to putting together a utensil that is made up of several component parts. [This is, however, forbidden by Rabbinic decree, because it resembles building (Chapter 22, Halachah 26).] Fashioning a new utensil, by contrast, is surely considered a derivative of building.

This latter opinion is shared by Tosafot (Shabbat 74b), the Ramban, the Rashba, and others. It is also accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 314:1).

50.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 6.

51.

Although one is liable for building even the slightest amount, with regard to this derivative the minimum measure for which one is liable is the size of a dried fig - the minimum measure associated with the labors related to food. Unless one makes an amount of cheese that size, one's activity is not significant at all.

52.

The Rambam discusses the Rabbinic prohibitions associated with this activity in Chapter 22, Halachah 25. (See also the discussion of the issue in the Shulchan Aruch [Orach Chayim 313:9] and commentaries.)

53.

Note that in Halachah 16, the Rambam states that one who makes a hole in a building is liable for performing a derivative of the forbidden labor of מכה בפטיש. Similarly, in Chapter 23, Halachah 1, he states that a person who makes a hole in a chicken coop for the sake of letting light in and letting foul air out is liable for performing a derivative of the forbidden labor of מכה בפטיש.

Among the resolutions offered is that in addition to being liable for מכה בפטיש, one is liable for building (Lechem Mishneh). Alternatively, in this halachah, the Rambam mentions making a hole of any size, while in Chapter 23, he mentions making an opening, implying that it is of a larger size, and only then is one liable for מכה בפטיש (Sefer HaKovetz).

54.

These doors serve as part of the floor of the building. Therefore, putting them in place is a derivative of building. (See also Chapter 22, Halachah 25, and the commentary of the Maggid Mishneh.)

55.

Whenever the encampment of the Jewish people moved, the Sanctuary was taken down and then reconstructed in the new camp (Shabbat 31b).

The commentaries note that in Chapter 1, Halachah 18, the Rambam mentions that one is liable for "demolishing to build in its place," while in this halachah, the words "in its place" are not mentioned.

56.

As mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 17, one is not liable for performing any forbidden labor with merely a destructive intent. Nevertheless, as mentioned in Chapter 8, Halachah 8, if one destroys with the intent of venting one's anger, one is liable. Seemingly, the Rambam should have mentioned this point in this context as well.

57.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam's intent is to illustrate how one is liable for demolishing for performing the converse of every positive activity for which one is liable for building.

Perhaps the Rambam's wording also alludes to the concept that a person is liable only when he demolishes a structure that is strong enough to last. If the structure he demolishes is not that sturdy, he is not liable. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 313:19.

58.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2), in definition of this category of forbidden labor, the Rambam writes:

A person who beats [an article] with a hammer, even at the c onclusion of the work as the craftsmen do. They strike very light blows to straighten the surface of a utensil.... Therefore, every activity involved in fashioning and completing a utensil, planing it, polishing it, and making it attractive are all derivatives of dealing [the final] hammer blow.

This is what [our Sages implied with] their statement (Shabbat 75b), "For any activity that constitutes the completion of a task, one is liable for dealing [the final] hammer blow."

59.

Tosafot, Shabbat 74b, asks: Since glass utensils are fashioned by blowing, why is one not liable for building as one is for making any other vessel? (See Halachah 13.) Indeed, the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 7:2) holds a person who blows a glass utensil liable for performing that forbidden labor.

The Yesodei Yeshurun and Rav Kapach point out that Rashi (Shabbat 75b) explains that the activity referred to involves cutting a glass utensil by exposing it to a current of air. This is also implied by the Hebrew words המנפח בכלי זכוכית - "one who blows at a glass utensil."

60.

If, however, one makes a drawing or a design on a paper (or on a similar substance), one is liable for performing a derivative of writing or dyeing (Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat 7:2). (See also Chapter 11, Halachah 17, and Be'ur Halachah 340.)

61.

The Maggid Mishneh in his gloss on Chapter 11, Halachah 7, renders the term used in our halachah as מגרר, "scrape."

62.

See also Chapter 23, Halachah 4.

63.

I.e., to cause one to be held liable, any opening must be fit to be used as an entrance through which entities are brought in, and an exit through which entities are taken out.

64.

The Ra'avad, Rashi (Shabbat 107a), and others maintain that performing this activity is a derivative of the labor of building. The Ziv HaMishnah explains the Rambam's position, focusing on the words "for this is a labor performed by a physician" - i.e., one i s not building a structure, but completing a specific labor that physicians perform.

65.

I.e., one may perform the act without any compunctions (Shabbat 107a). Although the Rambam's ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 328:28), Shulchan Aruch HaRav 328:32 and the Mishnah Berurah 328:88 suggest that it is preferable to have this act performed by a gentile.

According to Rashi and many other authorities, this activity is permitted, because it is a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. Although generally there would be a Rabbinic prohibition against such an act, in this instance, no prohibition was enforced because of the suffering involved.

This explanation is, however, untenable for the Rambam, for as explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 7, he holds one liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. Among the explanations given for the Rambam's position is that in removing the pus one does not complete the task involved, for an opening sufficient to be useful for another purpose has not been made (Maggid Mishneh). Similarly, Sefer HaBatim explains that in removing the pus, the person thinks only of relieving his pain and does not have any intent of making an opening. Thus the situation differs from the examples stated in Chapter 1, where the person performed the forbidden activity intentionally.

See also the commentary of Rav Chayim Soloveichik who explains that this decision is not dependent on the principle of מלאכה ש אינה צריכה לגופה, but rather on the concept of אינו מתכווין (see Chapter 1, Halachot 5-6) that a person who performs an activity which unintentionally causes a forbidden labor to be performed is not liable.

Although the Rambam agrees that when it is certain that one's actions will result in the performance of a forbidden labor, one is liable, the latter principle does not apply when one does not appreciate the results of the performance of the forbidden labor (פםיק רישא דלא ניחא ליה). In such an instance, the Rambam follows the opinion of the Aruch who maintains that one is not liable.

66.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 12:1), where he explains that this refers to "smoothing it with a tool known to be used for this purpose." Rashi (Shabbat 102b) renders this term as "chisel."

67.

The Or Sameach (based on Shabbat 102b) states that this applies only in setting the stones of a building's foundation, and not those of its walls.

One might ask: Why is the person who performs this activity not liable for building (see Rashi and Tosafot, Shabbat, loc. cit.)? It is possible to explain that it goes without saying that the Rambam would hold such an individual liable for building, the new concept taught by this halachah is that he is also liable for dealing [the final] hammer blow.

68.

Our translation is based on the commentary of Rabbenu Chanan'el on Shabbat 75b.

69.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this means that the person removes them from the garment with the intention of making it more attractive, even though he could wear the garment while they are still adhering to it. This interpretation is quoted by Shulchan Aruch HaRav 302:7 and the Mishnah Berurah 302:10.

70.

As explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 11, a person is not liable for performing a forbidden activity as a מתעסק - i.e., without consciously controlling his behavior. In this instance as well, it is common for people to pick at their clothes, without giving the matter any thought at all.

71.

It is, nevertheless, forbidden according to Rabbinic decree (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 302:6, Mishnah Berurah 302:11).

72.

The early manuscripts and printings of the Mishneh Torah state הציהוב הלבן. Based on the dictionary of Rabbi Tanchum of Jerusalem, this term is interpreted to mean "bright white threads."

73.

Based on Shabbat 147a, the Ra'avad, Rashi, and others, interpret this as shaking dew from a new garment, and the activity being a derivative of the forbidden labor of whitening. This interpretation is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 302:1).

74.

Rav Sa'adiah Adana explains that according to the general principles the Rambam outlined in the beginning of the text, it would have been sufficient for him to state "is liable," as is his practice throughout the text. Nevertheless, in this instance he quotes the Sages' expression (Shabbat 147a), "is liable for a sin offering"; because of the nature of the activity, one might think that one is liable only for stripes for rebelliousness, the punishment given for violating a Rabbinic decree.

75.

See Halachah 24, where the Rambam mentions some of the species not included in this category.

76.

The commentaries note that Shabbat 106b differentiates between a צפור דרור - a swallow - and other fowl. On this basis, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 316:1) states that other birds are also considered trapped when enclosed in houses, and it is only a swallow - because it is small - that must be trapped in a closet.

The Merkevet HaMishneh and others explain that Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi and the Rambam interpret the conclusion of that Talmudic passage as indicating that there is no difference between one type of fowl and another. It is too difficult to trap any bird when enclosed in a house.

77.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

78.

The Hebrew בית usually means house. Here, however, it refers to a one-room structure.

79.

The commentaries explain that a deer is trapped even when there are open windows and when there is no roof.

80.

See Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 2:7, where the Rambam develops this principle.

81.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this means "without having to pause."

82.

Leviticus 11:29. See Chapter 8, Halachah 9, for a definition of the species referred to.

83.

The distinction between the eight species mentioned in the Torah and other crawling animals is relevant within the context of the Mishnah, Shabbat 14:1, which follows the view of Rabbi Shimon that one is not held liable for performing a [forbidden] labor when he has no need for the actual labor he performed. Hence, it is necessary to differentiate between the eight species mentioned in the Torah (which are generally trapped for their hides) and other crawling animals when that is not necessarily the case.

84.

This ruling depends on the principle stated by the Rambam immediately afterwards, that one is held liable for performing a [forbidden] labor when he has no need for the actual labor he performed.

85.

This subject, referred to as a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה in Hebrew, is discussed at length in Chapter 1, Halachah 7. As mentioned, there are many authorities who differ with the Rambam's opinion on this issue.

86.

As obvious from Halachah 24, a person who traps an animal that is physically disabled is not liable. Shabbat 106b differentiates between the animals mentioned in that halachah and those mentioned in this halachah as follows: An animal that is sleeping or blind is sensitive to man's steps. Unless he approaches stealthily, the animal will be startled and flee. In contrast, those mentioned in Halachah 24 will not be able to escape capture.

87.

Note the Maggid Mishneh, who quotes Rabbenu Chanan'el's commentary, which explains this as a continuation of the concepts mentioned in the previous halachah. Rashi (Shabbat 106b) interprets the passage differently. (See the Be'ur Halachah 316.)

88.

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 316:2) emphasizes that even during the week, this behavior is undesirable. In his Darchei Moshe, he emphasizes that such cruelty will prevent a person from participating in the feast of the Leviathan in the era of the redemption.

89.

The Magen Avraham 316:4 emphasizes that if the person merely sends out the dogs and is not personally involved in the deer's capture, he is not held liable at all. There is, however, a Rabbinic prohibition involved.

90.

Here, we have chosen to translate the Hebrew נעל as "close," rather than "lock." Closing the door is sufficient to confine the deer inside and cause one to be liable for trapping it.

91.

Although he did not actively pursue the deer into the room, since it becomes trapped through his deed, he is responsible.

92.

This halachah illustrates the principle stated in Chapter 1, Halachot 15- 16:

Whenever two people share in the performance of a [forbidden] labor that one of them could have performed by himself, they are [both] free of liability.... When, however, a single individual cannot perform [the forbidden labor] alone and must be joined by others, [all the individuals involved are held liable].

See Sefer HaKovetz and others for explanations why this is not a mere reiteration of the principles stated previously.

93.

The first person's act did not obstruct the deer's escape, while the second person's did. Although the first person assisted the second, since his assistance was passive - he did absolutely nothing - he does not share in the liability. Furthermore, as the Rambam states in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 13:7), he is permitted to remain seated.

94.

For he completed the capture of the animal by sitting down. This is a fait acccompli to which the second person adds nothing.

95.

Without moving.

96.

He may not, however, take the deer on the Sabbath itself. Although it is already trapped, it is muktzeh, forbidden to be handled. (See Chapter 25, Halachah 26.)

97.

In this instance, we have translated the Hebrew נע ל as "lock" rather than "close" as above. Were a person to close the door and thus trap the deer, he would be liable. The Rambam is speaking of a situation where the deer was trapped previously (in the analogy, by the first person) and then locked in (blocked further by the second person).

98.

In this instance as well, it is forbidden to take the bird on the Sabbath because it is muktzeh.

99.

As explained in the notes on Halachah 21, one is not liable for trapping these creatures, because no real effort is required in doing so.

100.

The Maggid Mishneh questions why the Rambam uses the term "is not liable," which implies that it is forbidden to do so by Rabbinic decree. What prohibition is there in releasing an animal from a trap? He answers that perhaps the intent is that the person is liable for violating the Rabbinic prohibition that deems an animal as muktzeh. Note the Magen Avraham 316:11 which states that one may release an animal or a fowl from a trap, provided one does not touch them.

101.

See Hilchot Sh'vitat Yom Tov 2:5, where the Rambam states that chickens and ducks are considered as within a person's grasp. Note, however, the distinction between the different types of doves mentioned in that halachah and in this halachah. Because of that difference, the Maggid Mishneh considers the mention of doves in this halachah as a printing error. Mention of them is found, however, in most early manuscripts and printings, and other authorities justify their mention.

102.

Rav Kapach states that this refers to non-kosher locusts. A person who catches kosher locusts is liable. The Mishnah Berurah 316:13, however, differs, and maintains that the Rambam does not hold one liable for trapping such species.

103.

Since it is not customary to trap these species, even a person who traps them for a specific purpose is not held liable (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 316:4). There is, however, a Rabbinic prohibition involved. For that reason, one must even take precautions not to trap such creatures accidentally (Ramah, Orach Chayim 316:3).

104.

I.e., not only is one not liable, but is permitted to do so.

105.

Most commentaries explain this ruling according to the opinions that do not hold one liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. Although generally there would be a Rabbinic prohibition against such an act, in this instance no prohibition was enforced because of the danger involved.

This explanation is, however, untenable for the Rambam, for as explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 7, he follows Rabbi Yehudah's ruling that holds one liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה.

The Avnei Nezer (Likkutim 189) explains that this situation is different, because of the unique nature of the labor of trapping. The concept of trapping is relevant only when one traps an object of value. Therefore even Rabbi Yehudah frees one of liability when trapping an animal whose species is not usually trapped.

Similarly, in the instance at hand, since one has no concern for the object one is trapping, merely for one's personal welfare, the entire concept of trapping does not apply. See also the notes on Halachah 17 of this chapter and Chapter 11, Halachah 4.

Shabbos - Chapter Eleven

Halacha 1

A person who slaughters is liable. This does not apply only to [ritual] slaughter. Anyone who takes the life of a living beast, an animal, fowl, fish, or crawling animal - whether by slaughtering, stabbing, or beating1 - is liable.

A person who strangles a living creature performs a derivative of slaughtering.2 Therefore, if one removed a fish from the glass of water [in which it was being kept] until it died, one is liable for strangling it. [Indeed, one is liable even if one returns it to the water before] the fish actually dies. As long as [a portion of its body as wide as] a sela3 between its fins becomes dry, one is liable, for it will not be able to live afterwards.

A person who inserts his hand into an animal's womb and removes a fetus [from] the womb is liable.4

Halacha 2

A person who kills insects and worms that are conceived through male-female relations or fleas that come into being from the dust is liable as if he killed an animal or a beast.5 In contrast, a person is not liable for killing insects and worms that come into being from dung, rotten fruit, or the like - e.g., the worms found in meat or those found in legumes.6

Halacha 3

A person who checks his clothes for lice on the Sabbath may rub off the lice and discard them.7 It is is permitted to kill lice on the Sabbath, for they come into being from sweat.8

Halacha 4

It is permitted to kill beasts or insects whose bites are surely deadly, as soon as one sees them9 - for example,10 flies in Egypt, hornets in Nineveh, scorpions in Adiabena, snakes in Eretz Yisrael, and rabid dogs in all places.

[The following rules apply with regard to] other dangerous animals:11 If they are chasing a person, one may kill them.12If they are staying in their place or fleeing from the person, it is forbidden to kill them.13 If one steps on them accidentally as one is walking and kills them, this is permitted.14

Halacha 5

A person who skins [a portion of an animal's] hide large enough to make an amulet is liable.15 Similarly, one who processes [a portion of an animal's] hide large enough to make an amulet16 is liable.17

Just as one who processes [a hide is liable], so too, is one who salts [a hide], for salting is one of the methods of processing.18 [Prohibitions associated with the forbidden labor of] processing do not apply with regard to foodstuffs.19

Similarly, one who smooths [a portion of an animal's] hide large enough to make an amulet is liable.20 What is meant by smoothing? Removing the hair or the wool from the hide after [the animal's] death21 so that the surface of the hide will be smooth.

Halacha 6

A person who separates duchsustos from k'laf22is liable for [performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of skinning. A person who separates [a portion] from a hide large enough to make an amulet is liable.23

A person who treads upon a hide with his feet until it becomes hard, or one who softens it with his hands, extending it, and leveling it as the leather workers do is liable for [performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of processing.24

A person who pulls a feather from the wing of a fowl is liable for [performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of smoothing. Similarly, a person who smears a poultice of even the smallest size, beeswax,25 tar, or other entities that are smeared until a smooth surface is produced is liable for [performing a derivative of the forbidden labor of] smoothing.

A person who rubs a hide that is suspended between pillars is liable for smoothing.26

Halacha 7

A person who cuts [a portion] from a hide large enough to make an amulet is liable,27 provided he cuts with a specific length and width in mind. Cutting in this manner is considered as labor [forbidden on the Sabbath]. If, however, one cuts with a destructive intent,28 or without a precise measure, doing so either without thought entirely29 or for pleasure,30 he is not liable.

A person who trims [the down from] a wing [of a fowl]31 is liable [for performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of cutting. Similarly, one who planes32 a beam of cedar wood is liable for cutting. Similarly, anyone who cuts a piece of wood or a piece of metal is liable for cutting.

A person who takes a small piece of wood33 and trims it to use as a toothpick or to pry open a door is liable.34

Halacha 8

Any article that is fit to be used as animal fodder35 - e.g., straw, soft grasses, palm branches, and the like, may be trimmed on the Sabbath, because the the concept of preparing a utensil does not apply in this context.

It is permitted to break fragrant branches [by hand] for the sake of their scent36 although they are hard and dry. One may strip [their bark] as one desires, regardless of whether one strips [the bark] of a small branch or a large branch.

Halacha 9

A person who writes37 two38 letters39 is liable. A person who erases writing so that he can write40 two letters is liable.41

A person who writes one large letter the size of two [ordinary] letters is not liable.42 In contrast, a person who erases one large letter in a place where two letters can be written is liable.43

A person who wrote one letter that concluded a scroll is liable.44 A person who writes for the sake of ruining the parchment is liable,45 for one is liable for the writing itself46 and the surface on which [the letters] are written is not significant. If one rubs out writing with the intent of ruining [the writing surface], one is not liable.47

Should one rub out ink that fell on a scroll or rub out wax that fell on a writing tablet,48 one is liable49 if [the rubbed out] portion is large enough for two letters to be written upon it.

Halacha 10

A person who writes the same letter twice and thus produces a word [that has meaning] - e.g., דד תת גג רר שש סס חח50 - is liable.

One is liable for writing in any language and with any characters,51 or even for making two marks.52

Halacha 11

A person is not liable for writing in the following circumstances:

He writes one letter next to writing that existed previously;53

he writes on top of writing that existed previously;54

he intended to write a chet and instead wrote two zeinim55 or makes a similar error with regard to other letters;

he writes one letter on the floor [of a house] and one letter on [one of] the beams [of the ceiling], for they are not read as a single unit;56

he writes two letters on two pages of a writing tablet that are not read as a single unit.57

When a person writes [two letters] in two corners [of the walls of a house] or on two pages of a writing tablet and they can be read as a single unit,58 he is liable.

Halacha 12

If a person took a parchment or the like and wrote one letter upon it in one city and traveled on that same [Sabbath] day to another city where he wrote another letter on another scroll, he is liable.59 [This decision is rendered] because when the [two parchments] are brought close to each other, they can be read as a single unit. All that is necessary is to bring them together.

Halacha 13

A person who writes merely one letter is not liable even when [that letter] is representative of an entire word. What is implied? One wrote a מ and everyone knows that the intent is the word ma'aser60 or one wrote [that letter] in the place where a number is required and thus it is as if one wrote [the word] "forty,61" one is not liable.

If one was checking a single letter and divided it, [creating] two [letters], one is liable; for example, one divided the connecting lines of a chet, thus creating two zeinim.62 The same applies in all similar situations.63

Halacha 14

A person who writes with his left hand, with the back of one's hand,64 with his feet, his mouth, or with his elbow, is not liable.65

A left-handed person who writes with his right hand - which for him is equivalent to other people's left hand - is not liable. If he writes with his left hand, he is liable. A person who is ambidextrous66 is liable regardless of whether he writes with his right or left hand.

When an adult holds a pen and a child holds his hand [and moves it, causing] him to write, [the adult] is not liable.

Halacha 15

A person who writes is not liable until he writes with a substance that leaves a permanent mark67 - e.g., with ink,68 black tint,69 vermilion,70 gum, vitriol,71 and the like - on a surface on which the writing will remain preserved - e.g., a skin, parchment, paper, wood,72 and the like.

[In contrast,] a person is not liable if he writes with a substance that does not leave a permanent mark - e.g., beverages or fruit juice - or if he writes with ink and the like on a substance like vegetable leaves where the writing will not be preserved. One is liable only when writing with a substance that leaves a permanent mark on a surface where that mark will be preserved.

Similarly with regard to [the forbidden labor of erasing]: A person who erases is liable only when erasing writing that would leave a permanent mark from a surface where that mark will be preserved.73

Halacha 16

A person who writes on his skin is liable, because his flesh is [comparable to an animal] hide.74 Even though the warmth of his flesh will cause the writing to fade afterwards, this is comparable to writing that was erased.75 In contrast, a person who engraves the forms of letters onto his skin is not liable.76

A person who cuts out the form of letters on a hide is liable. In contrast, a person who makes a mark in the shape of letters on a hide is not liable.77

A person who traces over letters that were written with vermilion with ink is liable for two [transgressions]: one for writing and one for erasing.78 [In contrast,] a person who traces with ink over letters that were written with ink,79 who traces with vermilion over letters that were written with vermilion, or who traces with vermilion over letters that were written with ink, is not liable.

Halacha 17

Making designs is a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of writing. What is implied? A person who makes designs or who creates forms80 on a wall81 or with red color and the like as artists do is liable [for performing a derivative of] writing.82 Similarly, a person who erases a design for the sake of correcting [it]83 is liable [for performing] a derivative [of the forbidden labor] of erasing.

A person who rules a line in order to write two letters below that line is liable.84 Carpenters who draw a red line on a beam to enable them to saw evenly perform a derivative of ruling a line.85 Similarly, stonemasons who [make lines] on a stone so that they will cut it evenly [perform a derivative of ruling a line.]

One is liable regardless of whether the line one rules is colored or without color.86

FOOTNOTES
1.

In all three of these activities, the animal dies because of bleeding. For this reason, although beating may cause the animal to die because of internal bleeding, it is included in the same category.

2.

Since no blood is shed, this is considered a derivative and not a מלאכה מעין.

3.

A coin of the Talmudic period. Based on Yoreh De'ah 30, it appears that a sela is approximately 2.6 or 3.2 cm in diameter according to the different opinions.

4.

Based on Avodah Zarah 26a, the Eglei Tal quotes opinions which state that if a person performs such an act, he is liable for reaping - i.e., removing an entity from its source of nurture. The difference between these two rationales is that when an animal is prepared to give birth, the concept of reaping no longer applies, for the fetus no longer needs its mother's nurture.

5.

This follows the Rambam's ruling that one is liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. The authorities who differ on this principle will hold one liable only if one kills these creatures for the sake of something that one needs from their bodies.

6.

In view of the experiments of Pasteur, there are many Rabbis who maintain that this ruling should be disregarded and we should refrain from killing any creatures on the Sabbath. Others, even contemporary authorities with scientific backgrounds, such as the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shelita (see Emunah UMada, p. 130 ff), maintain that our inability to observe spontaneous generation is not absolute proof that such a phenomenon does not exist. Consequently, it is inappropriate for us to think of altering the halachah.

In this context, it is significant to quote the Rambam's statements, Hilchot Shechitah 10:13:

Similarly, with regard to the conditions that we have enumerated as causing an animal to be trefah (unable to live for an extended period): Even though it appears from the medical knowledge available to us at present, that some of these conditions are not fatal... all that is significant to us is what our Sages said, as [implied by Deuteronomy 17:11]: "[You shall act] according to the instructions that they will give you."

See also the introductions to Chapter 3 of Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah and to Chapter 4 of Hilchot De'ot in the Moznaim Mishneh Torah series.

7.

See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 316:9.

8.

The difference of Rabbinic opinion mentioned with regard to the previous halachah applies in this instance as well.

9.

Shabbat 121b explains that this leniency applies even according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah, who maintains that one is liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. Because of the danger these species pose, they are allowed to be killed even when they are not pursuing a person. For it can be assumed that as soon as they become aware of a person, they will pursue him.

10.

The Rambam cites these examples to illustrate the principle he states, not to be restrictive. If other species pose mortal danger in a manner similar to the five mentioned here, the same laws apply (Kessef Mishneh).

11.

I.e., creatures that can inflict mortal wounds, but will not necessarily do so.

12.

In this instance as well, Rabbi Yehudah would accept this leniency, for the person is concerned only with saving his life and not with the performance of the forbidden activity. (See the interpretation of Sefer HaBatim mentioned in the notes on Chapter 10, Halachah 17.)

13.

For there is no immediate danger involved.

14.

The wording used by the Rambam (based on Shabbat 121b) is somewhat problematic. The expression "if one steps on them accidentally," implies that we are speaking after the fact, after one has already crushed them, while the expression "it is permitted" appears to indicate that this license is granted at the outset.

The Rashba explains that, indeed, license to kill these creatures is granted outright. One should merely make it appear that one is stepping on them accidentally. This ruling applies, however, only according to Rabbi Shimon, who does not hold one liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה. According to Rabbi Yehudah, the intent is that one may proceed without taking care to check whether one kills them or not.

15.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

16.

The Maggid Mishneh cites Shabbat 8:3, which states that one is liable for transferring a hide this size from one domain to another. Significantly, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam states that this refers not to the skin used to make parchment on which the amulet is written, but rather the leather used as a covering for the amulet.

17.

This is also one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

18.

See Hilchot Tefillin 1:6.

19.

The Rambam's ruling differs from that of Rabbenu Chanan'el, who holds one liable for salting meat to preserve it for an extended period. (See also the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 321:2-6, which mentions several Rabbinic prohibitions in connection with salting food. Note the explanation of Shulchan Aruch HaRav 321:2.) The Ma'aseh Rokeach states that the Rambam maintains, by contrast, that there are no Rabbinic prohibitions associated with salting food in this context. Note, however, Chapter 22, Halachah 10, which mentions a Rabbinic prohibition against salting food as part of the pickling process.

20.

This is also one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

21.

Apparently, the Rambam adds this phrase to distinguish between this category of forbidden labor and the category of shearing. Shearing refers to removing an animal's wool or hair when alive, while smoothing refers to performing the same activity after the animal's death (Yesodei Yeshurun). Note, however, Chapter 9, Halachah 7, which states that one is liable for shearing an animal's wool even when the animal is dead.

See also the Responsum of the Beit Meir (Vol. IV, p. 142), which explains that although the activities included in the two categories of labor are similar, their objectives differ. The object of the labor of shearing is to obtain wool, while the object of the labor of smoothing is to produce a smooth hide.

[According to the Rivosh (cited in Chapter 9, Halachah 7), shearing applies when wool is removed from a live animal, while smoothing applies when the same activity is performed after an animal has died (Eglei Tal).

22.

See Hilchot Tefillin 1:7-8, where the Rambam explains that a hide used for parchment is divided in half. The thin upper side of the hide where the hair grows is called k'laf. The thick portion on the side of the flesh is called duchsustos. Tefillin should be written on k'laf, while mezuzot should be written on duchsustos.

At present, the parchment used for writing sacred articles is no longer processed in this fashion.

23.

This phrase is not included in the early manuscripts and printings of the Mishneh Torah. Its addition appears to be a printing error.

24.

See Chapter 23, Halachah 10, for Rabbinical prohibitions associated with leather working.

25.

See Chapter 23, Halachah 11, for Rabbinical prohibitions associated with smoothing wax.

26.

The Maggid Mishneh cites the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 7:2), which explains that preparation of the hides used for the Sanctuary involved suspending them on pillars and rubbing them so that their surface would be smooth.

27.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

28.

As explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 17, anyone who performs a forbidden labor for a destructive intent is not liable.

29.

As explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 11, anyone who performs a forbidden labor casually, without intent, is not liable.

30.

Rav Kapach explains that here also the intent is performing the activity for the sake of tension release, without any concern for what one is doing.

31.

To use in stuffing a pillow or a blanket (Rashi, Shabbat 74b).

32.

Our translation is based on the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh, who contrasts this halachah with Chapter 10, Halachah 16. (See the notes on that halachah.)

33.

As is obvious from the following halachah, this refers to a twig or piece of wood that is not fit to be used as food for an animal.

34.

The Maggid Mishneh and others question the Rambam's ruling, noting that according to Beitzah 33a-b, it would appear that one is liable only if one trims a piece of wood with a utensil. Significantly, however, the Magen Avraham 322:4 quotes the Rambam's decision without objection.

35.

Although the Rambam's ruling is accepted as halachah by the later authorities, the Sefer Mitzvot Gadol and other Rishonim differ.

36.

E.g., myrtle branches, which give off their fragrance when they are broken open and rubbed. Significantly, when mentioning this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 322:5) states that this is permitted "for the sake of a sick person." Nevertheless, the conclusion of the later authorities is that a healthy person may also do so (Mishnah Berurah 322:16).

37.

This is one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor.

38.

One is liable for writing two letters because this resembles the activity necessary for the construction of the Sanctuary. A mark was made on each of the sides of the walls, so that it would be used to match the same walls to each other every time the Sanctuary was erected (Shabbat 12:3, Rashi, Shabbat 75b).

39.

The same also applies to a person who writes two numerals (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 340:8). See the notes on the following halachah and on Halachah 17, which discuss the use of marks or symbols.

40.

One's intent need not be to write on the Sabbath itself. As long as one erases with the intent of writing, one is liable regardless of when one actually writes (Mishnah Berurah 340:13).

41.

This is also one of the 39 categories of forbidden labor. If a mark was made in error on one of the walls, it was erased so that the correct mark could be made.

42.

For he has only written one letter. One is not liable until one writes two letters, regardless of their size. Nevertheless, writing even a single letter is considered as חצי שיעור (the performance of half the forbidden measure of a prohibition) and forbidden according to the Torah itself (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 340:4, Mishnah Berurah 340:12).

43.

For his erasure is sufficient to enable two letters to be written.

44.

In this instance, although only one letter was written, the act is significant, because it completed an entire scroll. There are commentaries on Shabbat 104b, the source for this halachah, who maintain that, in this instance, one is liable for performing the labor מכה בפטיש, completing an article. From the Rambam's wording, however, it appears that he holds him liable for writing.

We see a similar decision with regard to the forbidden labor of weaving. In Chapter 9, Halachah 18, the Rambam writes that one is liable for weaving one thread if by doing so, one completes a garment (Rav Kapach).

45.

I.e., one writes an ordinary letter on parchment fit to write a Torah scroll (Rav Kapach).

46.

Although one has ruined the parchment and thus there is a destructive aspect to one's activity, since the words one wrote are significant, one is liable.

47.

For the entire purpose of the labor of erasing is to prepare a writing surface for use.

48.

In Talmudic times, the word פנקס referred to a book of tablets coated with wax upon which merchants would write with a stylus (Rashi, Shabbat 104b).

49.

For erasing. With this act, one prepares a writing surface. Note the Sh'vut Ya'akov and others who explain that one is liable for smearing the wax (see Halachah 6). Most authorities, however, accept the Rambam's ruling that one is liable for erasing.

50.

All these pairs of letters have meaning. Hence, one is liable. If, however, one writes a pair of letters that has no meaning, even if it is the beginning of a word - e.g., אא, one is not liable (Maggid Mishneh, based on Shabbat 103b).

51.

It is necessary for the Rambam to mention both other languages and other characters. Otherwise, one might think that with regard to other languages, one is liable only for writing words from other languages when one transliterates them into Hebrew characters - or conversely, that one is liable for writing with other characters only when writing Hebrew words. With the wording he chose, the Rambam makes it clear that one is liable even when one writes words from another language in the characters of that language.

It must be emphasized that there are authorities who differ with the Rambam's decision. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 306:11) quotes the Or Zarua, who states that one is liable for writing only when one writes in the Assyrian script (i.e., the Hebrew script used for Torah scrolls) or in the classic Greek script. Note, however, the Noda BiY'hudah (Orach Chayim, Vol. II, Responsum 32) and the Be'ur Halachah 306, who refute the Or Zarua's opinion and state that it is not accepted by others. And note the S'dei Chemed (ma'arechet kaf, sec. 111), who brings other opinions in support of the Or Zarua.

52.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 12:3), the Rambam explains the term "signs" as referring to the use of letters as numbers - e.g., א for one, ב for two.

The Maggid Mishneh interprets these "signs" as referring to symbols that are not letters, but are significant to a reader, such as the reversed nunnim found in the Torah, Numbers 10:35-36. (See also Halachah 17 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 340:7-8.)

53.

Even when the letter he wrote completes a word when combined with the writing that existed previously. Since he has not written two letters on the Sabbath, he is not liable (Rashi, Shabbat 104b).

54.

Superimposing his writing on top of a letter that had been written previously. Although this writing made the existent letters clearer, since nothing essentially new is achieved, the person is not liable (ibid.). (See also the latter portion of Halachah 16 and notes.)

55.

In the Assyrian script used for Torah scrolls and the like, a chet resembles two zeinim that are connected by two lines referred to as the ch'totrot.

56.

Letters that cannot be read together are considered two separate units, and writing each of them a separate activity. Since the obligation for writing on the Sabbath is for writing two letters, as explained above, one is not liable unless the two letters can be read together.

57.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 12:5), the Rambam emphasizes that letters must be on the same line to be able to read as a single unit. (See also Shabbat 104b, which emphasizes that the distance between the two letters can also be a significant factor.)

58.

This resembles the letters written on the beams of the Sanctuary, the source for the prohibition against writing on the Sabbath.

59.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this ruling, based on Shabbat 104b, applies even when it is necessary to fold the two parchments so that the two letters can be placed in juxtaposition to each other.

60.

The word ma'aser means "tithes." This abbreviation was often used to refer to money or produce that was ma'aser sheni, "the second tithe," which could be used only to buy food to be eaten in Jerusalem. The same applies regarding other abbreviations.

61.

The numerical equivalent of מ according to the accepted principles of gematria, Hebrew numerology.

62.

See the notes and diagrams accompanying Halachah 11.

Shulchan Aruch HaRav 340:8 mentions that a person who writes a zayin or any other of the letters שטנ"ז ג"ץ that require taggim, "crowns," without these crowns is not liable. From this halachah, it would appear that the Rambam does not accept this ruling, for the zeinim created when the connecting lines of a chet are divided do not have crowns.

63.

As another possibility, Shabbat 104b mentions erasing the projection in the right corner of a dalet to create a reish.

64.

Rashi, Shabbat 104b, interprets this to mean that the person holds a pen in his hand and turns his hand upside down to write.

Based on this source, the expression כלאחר יד is used throughout the Rabbinic literature on the Sabbath laws to mean "in an unusual manner."

65.

A person is liable for performing a forbidden labor on the Sabbath only when he does so in an ordinary manner. Although there is a Rabbinic prohibition against performing a forbidden labor in an unusual manner, one is not held liable.

66.

The precise translation of the Rambam's wording is "uses both of his hands with equal dexterity." On this basis, there is room for question regarding a left-handed person who writes with his right hand, but less comfortably than he does with his left hand. Is he liable for writing with his right hand on the Sabbath or not?

67.

As mentioned in Chapter 9, Halachah 13, "Whenever one performs a labor that does not have a permanent effect on the Sabbath, one is not liable." To apply a principle mentioned in the notes to that halachah, if the writing will remain on the Sabbath itself, even if it will fade afterwards, one is liable.

See also the Be'ur Halachah 340 who quotes the opinion of the Rashba (Shabbat 115b) which explains that permanency in this context refers to writing that will last an ordinary period of time.

68.

In Hilchot Tefillin 1:4, the Rambam describes the preparation of ink as follows:

One collects the vapor of oils, of tar, of wax, or the like, [causes it to condense,] and kneads it together with sap from a tree and a drop of honey. It is moistened extensively, crushed until it is formed into flat cakes, dried, and then stored.

When one desires to write with it, one soaks [the cakes of ink] in gallnut juice or the like and writes with it. Thus, if one attempts to rub it out, he would be able to.

69.

The commentaries associate this with a tint produced from the residue of an oven.

70.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 12:4, Megillah 2:2), the Rambam translates this term into Arabic. Rav Kapach states that the Arabic term he uses refers to red colored clay used for drawing.

71.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam describes these substances, using Arabic terms which Rav Kapach translates as referring to saps from trees that are yellow and green in color. When they are mixed with gallnut juice, they turn black, as the Rambam mentions in Chapter 9, Halachah 14.

72.

As mentioned previously, the forbidden labor of writing has its source in the letters written as symbols for the walls of the Sanctuary.

73.

Unless the writing is written with such substances and on such substances, the person's activity is considered insignificant, for the writing would soon fade in any event.

74.

A surface on which writing would be preserved, as mentioned in the previous halachah.

75.

The writing is considered permanent, because the body's heat is considered as an external force that wipes out writing that, in and of itself, would remain permanently.

76.

Engraving is considered equivalent to writing - as is obvious from the law stated immediately afterwards. Nevertheless, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 12:4), the Rambam writes that the person is exempt, because engraving on human skin is not an ordinary way of writing.

77.

From the Be'ur Halachah 340 and others, it appears that this refers to a mark that is made with a stylus or the like that will not remain permanently on the hide. (Note the contrast to Hilchot Gerushin 4:7.)

78.

Letters written with ink are much more attractive and distinctive than letters written with vermilion. Nevertheless, letters written with vermilion are also significant. Hence, by tracing over the initial writing, one performs two activities: the nullification of the letters written previously (erasing) and the composition of new letters (writing).

79.

To reinforce the previous writing. In this instance, one is not liable, as stated in Halachah 11.

80.

Note the Be'ur Halachah 340, who questions whether one must make two designs to be held liable (as one is liable only when one writes two letters) or one is liable for making a single design. It is explained that from the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 7:2), it appears that a single design is sufficient.

81.

Our translation follows the standard printed text of the Mishneh Torah. Significantly, some authoritative manuscripts use the Hebrew כחול, meaning "blue," rather that כותל meaning "wall." According to this version, the halachah would read "One who makes designs and forms with blue, red and other [colors] of the like...."

82.

See also Chapter 10, Halachah 16, and notes in regard to making forms on utensils.

83.

Alternatively, one is liable if one erases a design to draw a different design in its place.

84.

This is one of the 39 categories of labor forbidden on the Sabbath.

85.

From this halachah and from the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:2), it would appear that the category of labor of ruling lines is associated with writing only. This is somewhat difficult, because writing per se, was not performed in the construction of the Sanctuary. Rashi, Shabbat 75b, states that ruling lines was necessary to cut the hides carefully. According to his opinion, it is possible to say that ruling a line in order to saw in a straight line would be considered as the forbidden labor itself and not merely a derivative. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav 340:11.

86.

As the lines of a Torah scroll are ruled.

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