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Sunday, 30 Nissan 5775 / April 19, 2015
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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Shabbos - Chapter Eighteen

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Shabbos - Chapter Eighteen

Halacha 1

A person who transfers an article from a private domain into the public domain, or from the public domain into the private domain is not liable,1 unless he transfers an amount that will be beneficial [to accomplish a purpose].2 The following are the minimum amounts for which one is liable for transferring:3

Human food, the size of a dried fig.4 This quantity may include a combination of [different types of foods],5 provided the amount of food itself is the size of a dried fig. The shells, the seeds, the stems, the chaff, and the bran are not included [in this measure].6

Halacha 2

[The minimum measure for which one is liable for transferring] wine is a quarter of a revi'it;7 if it has congealed, a k'zayit. For the milk of a kosher animal, a gulp.8 For non-kosher milk, enough to apply to one eye. For a woman's milk and egg-white, enough to put in an ointment. For oil, enough to anoint the the small toe of a newborn infant.

Dew, enough to serve as a base for an eye ointment.9 An eye ointment, enough to be mixed with water [and be applied to an eye]. Water, enough for washing the surface of a mortar.10 Honey,11 enough to apply to a wound.12 Blood, all other liquids, and all sewage water,13 a revi'it.

Halacha 3

[The minimum measure for which one is liable for transferring] straw from grain is a cow's mouthful.14 Straw from beans, a camel's mouthful.15 If, however, one transfers bean straw with the expressed purpose of feeding it to a cow, one is liable for transferring a cow's mouthful.16 Eating that involves difficulty is still considered to be eating. Straws from the ears of grain,17 a lamb's mouthful.18 Grass, a kid's mouthful.19

Leaves of garlic and leaves of onion20 when fresh are considered to be human food. Hence, their measure is the size of a dried fig. When they are dry, their measure is a kid's mouthful.

[Should one take out a combination of these substances,] their amounts should not be combined to hold one liable according to the more stringent measure. They should, however, be combined to hold one liable according to the more lenient measure. What is implied? When a person takes out both straw from grain and straw from beans, if the amount he takes out is enough to fill a cow's mouth, he is not liable.21 If it is enough to fill a camel's mouth, he is liable.22 The same applies regarding all similar dimensions of the Sabbath laws.

Halacha 4

[The minimum measure for which one is liable for transferring] wood is the amount necessary to cook a portion of a chicken's egg23 the size of a dried fig, when the egg is beaten and mixed with oil24 and placed in a pot.25

A person who transfers a reed is liable when it is large enough to make a pen26 that reaches to the top of his fingers. If, however, the reed is thick or crushed, [and thus is unfit for use as a pen,] the measure [for which one is liable] is the same as for wood.27

Halacha 5

[The minimum measure for which one is liable for transferring] spices is the amount necessary to spice an egg. [Different] spices can be combined [to make up this measure].28

Pepper,29 even the slightest amount. Pine sap,30 even the slightest amount.31 A substance with a pleasant fragrance, even the slightest amount.32 A substance with an unpleasant fragrance, even the slightest amount.33 Perfumes, even the slightest amount. Fine purpled dye,34 even the slightest amount. Rosebuds, even the slightest amount.

Pieces from utensils made from hard metal35 - e.g., bronze or iron - even the slightest amount. [Chips] from the stones of the altar, or from the earth of the altar,36 [pieces] of decayed scrolls or their wrapping cloths,37 even the slightest amount, for [these articles] are [required to be] entombed.38

A coal, even the slightest amount.39 A person who transfers a flame is not liable.40

Halacha 6

A person who transfers seeds of garden plants41 that are not fit for human consumption42 is liable for [transferring] a measure that is almost the size of a dried fig.43 [A person is liable for transferring] two cucumber seeds, two gourd seeds, and five Egyptian bean seeds.44

[A person who] transfers coarse bran [is liable for transferring a quantity] fit to place on the opening of the crucible of a gold refiner.45 [The measure for which a person is liable for transferring] fine bran [depends on his intent]: If [he intends to use the bran as] food [for humans], the measure is the size of a dried fig. As food for animals, a kid's mouthful. For paint, enough to paint a small cloth.

The buds of shrubs46 and carobs that have not yet become sweet, the size of a dried fig. After they become sweet, a mouthful of a kid. In contrast, luf,47 mustard, turmos,48and all other foods that are pickled, whether they have become sweet or not, [the measure for which one is liable is] the size of a dried fig.49

Halacha 7

[When a person] transfers seeds50 to eat, [he is liable for transferring] five. [If his intent] is to use them as fuel, they are considered to be wood.51 For counting,52 two, for sowing, two.

[Similarly, the measure for which a person is liable for transferring] hyssop [depends on his intent]. If [his intent] is for human consumption, he is liable for [an amount equal to] the size of a dried fig. For fuel, the measure of wood; for sprinkling,53 the measure acceptable for sprinkling.

Halacha 8

[A person who] transfers nut shells, pomegranate shells, isatis,54 pu'ah,55 and other dyes [is liable for transferring a quantity] that is sufficient to dye a small garment - e.g.,56 the hairnet young girls place on their heads.

Similarly, one who transfers urine that is forty days old,57 Alexandrian niter, soap, cimonia, ashlag,58 and all other cleansing agents [is liable for transferring] the amount necessary to wash a small garment - e.g., the hairnet young girls place on their heads.

A person who transfers herbs that are soaking [is liable for transferring] an amount sufficient to dye a sample for a weaver.

Halacha 9

A person who transfers ink on a quill [is liable for transferring] a measure sufficient to write two letters.59 If, however, a person removes [the dried concentrate used to make] ink or ink in an inkwell, a larger amount is necessary [for him to be liable], i.e., the amount necessary for a person to dip a pen in and write two letters.

If [a person transfers] enough [ink] to write one letter in an inkwell and enough [ink] to write one letter on a quill or enough dry ink to write one letter and enough ink to write one letter on a quill, there is a doubt whether he is liable or not.60

[When a person takes out enough ink to write] two letters and writes them as he is walking, he is liable. Writing them is considered to be placing them down.61 [When a person takes out enough ink to write] one letter and writes and then takes out [enough ink to write] a second letter and writes it, he is not liable.62 For [the ink for] the first letter is lacking.63

Halacha 10

[A person who transfers] eye paint, whether for medicinal64 or cosmetic purposes, [is liable for transferring an amount sufficient] to paint one eye.65 In places where [a woman] would not apply eye paint to less than two eyes as a cosmetic practice,66 a person who takes out eye paint for cosmetic purposes is not liable unless he takes out a quantity sufficient to paint two eyes.

Tar or sulfur, enough to make a hole.67 Wax, enough to place on a small hole.68 Paste, enough to place on a board to catch birds.69 Fat, enough to grease [a space] the size of a sela70 under a cake [in an oven].

Halacha 11

[A person who transfers] red clay71 [is liable for transferring an amount] sufficient to make a seal for a letter.72Clay, enough to make the opening of a crucible.73

Manure or fine sand, enough to fertilize a leek. Coarse sand, enough to mix with a full trowel of lime.74 Firm clay,75 enough to make the opening of a goldsmith's crucible. Hair, enough to mix with clay to make the opening of a goldsmith's crucible.76 Lime, enough to apply to a girl's smallest finger.77 Dust or ash, enough to cover the blood of a small bird.78 A pebble, enough for an animal to feel if it was thrown at it79 - i.e., the weight of ten zuzim. A shard, enough to contain a revi'it.

Halacha 12

[A person who transfers] rope [is liable for transferring an amount] sufficient to make a handle for a container. Reeds,80 enough to make a hook to hang a sifter or a sieve.81 Palm leaves, enough to make a handle for an Egyptian basket. Palm bast, enough to use as a stopper for a small pitcher of wine.82 Unprocessed wool, enough to make a ball the size of a nut.

Bone, enough to make a spoon. Glass, to sharpen the point of a weaver's needle or to cut two threads at once.83

Halacha 13

[A person] is liable for transferring two hairs from the tail of a horse or of a cow.84 If he transfers one bristle from a pig's [back],85 he is liable. Fibers from a date palm, two. The bark of the date branches, one.86

From cotton, from silk, camel's wool, rabbit's wool, wool from an animal of the sea, or any other fibers that can be spun, enough to spin a thread four handbreadths long.87

When a person transfers cloth, sack, or leather, the same minimum measurements that apply with regard to the laws of ritual purity also apply with regard to transferring [on the Sabbath]: [The size of] a cloth for which one is liable for transferring] is three [fingerbreadths] by three [fingerbreadths];88 sackcloth,89 four [handbreadths] by four [handbreadths]; leather, five [handbreadths] by five [handbreadths].90

Halacha 14

When a person transfers an animal hide that was not processed at all and is thus soft, the measure [for which he is liable] is enough to wrap a small weight the size of a shekel. When [it is in the first stages of being processed - i.e.,] salt has been applied to it, but not flour and gall-nut juice, the measure [for which one is liable] is enough to make an amulet.91 If flour has been applied to it, but not gall-nut juice, the measure is enough to write a bill of divorce upon it. If it has been processed entirely, its measure is five [handbreadths] by five [handbreadths].

Halacha 15

[A person who transfers] processed parchment92 [is liable for transferring a piece] sufficient for the passage from Shema to uvish'arecha.93 Duchsustos, enough to write a mezuzah on it.

Paper, enough to write on it two letters for a customs officer's receipt. These two letters are larger than the letters we [usually write]. A person who transfers a customs officer's receipt is liable even though he has already shown it to the customs officer and has been exempted because of it,94 for it will serve forever as proof [of his having paid].

A person who transfers a promissory note that has been paid95 or a paper that has been erased [is liable for transferring] enough to wrap around a small flask of perfume.96 If it has a portion of clean paper large enough to write two letters for a custom officer's receipt, he is liable.

Halacha 16

A person who transfers an animal, a wild beast, or a fowl is liable even if it is alive. A living person, by contrast, is not considered to be a burden.97 Nevertheless, if he is bound or sick, a person who transfers him is liable.98

A woman may walk her son if he can pick up one foot and place down the other.99

Halacha 17

A person who transfers a living child with a purse hanging around his neck is liable, because of the purse, for the purse is not considered to be subsidiary to the child.100 If, however, one transfers an adult who is wearing clothes and rings on his hands, one is not liable, for everything is considered to be subsidiary to him. If, by contrast, his garments were folded [and held] on his shoulder,101 a person who carries him is liable.

Halacha 18

[A person who transfers] a live locust of the smallest size [is liable].102 If it is dead, [he is liable for transferring an amount] the size of a dried fig.103 [For transferring] "a bird of the vineyards,"104 [one is liable for transferring] even the smallest amount, regardless of whether it is alive or dead, since it is preserved for medicinal105 purposes.106 The same applies in all similar cases.

The minimum measure for which one is liable for transferring [flesh from] a human corpse, [flesh from] the carcass of an animal, or [flesh from] a dead crawling animal107 is the same as the minimum amount of these substances capable of imparting ritual impurity: From a human corpse108 and from an animal carcass,109 the size of an olive. From a crawling animal,110 the size of a lentil.

Halacha 19

If there is exactly an olive-sized portion [of an animal carcass in one place] and a person removes a portion half the size of an olive111 from it, he is liable. [This decision is rendered,] because his actions are effective in reducing [the amount of impure substance to the extent] that the minimum amount that can convey impurity is no longer present.

If, however, he removes a quantity aproximately half the size of an olive from a quantity that is one and a half times the size of an olive, he is not liable.112 The same principles apply with regard to other sources of impurity.

Halacha 20

When does [the abovementioned rule,] that a person is liable only when he transfers the minimum of a standard measure of a substance, apply? When the person transfers the substance without any specific intent.113 If, however, a person transfers a [seed] to sow,114 or a substance for medicinal purposes, to show as an example, or the like,115 he is liable for the slightest amount.

Halacha 21

Should a person who stores a substance to use as seed, or to use for medicinal purposes, or a substance to be shown as a sample, [afterwards,] forget the reason for which he stored the substance,116 and remove it117 without any specific intent,118 he is liable regardless of its size.119 Another person, by contrast, is not liable [if he transfers this article] unless it is of the prescribed measure.120

If after transferring the article [for the intent he originally had], the person throws it into a storeroom, even if it is [set aside] in a distinct place,121 his original intent is considered to have been nullified. Therefore, if he brings in the article afterwards, he is not liable unless it is of the prescribed measure.

Halacha 22

When an entity is not usually stored away,122 nor is it fit to be stored away123 - e.g., a woman's menstrual discharge - a person who stores it and then transfers it is liable.124 Other people, by contrast, are exempt for [transferring] such an article, for [in general] one is not liable unless one transfers an article that is fit to be stored and that people generally store.

Halacha 23

A person who transfers half125 of the prescribed measure [of a substance] is not liable.126 Similarly, a person who performs half the measure of any of the other [forbidden] labors is not liable.

If a person transfers half of the prescribed measure [of a substance], places it down, and then returns and transfers the second half, he is liable.127 If, however, he picks up the first half before he places down the second half, it is as if [the first half] were burned,128 and he is not liable.

When a person transfers half of the prescribed measure [of a substance], places it down, and then returns and transfers the second half, passing it over the first [half without placing it on the ground], he is liable [if the second half] is [held] within three handbreadths of the first half.129 [The rationale is] that transferring is considered equivalent to placing the object down on a substance.

If, by contrast, he throws the second half,130 he is not liable unless it comes to rest on a substance [within the domain where the first half was placed].131

Halacha 24

[When a person] transfers half the prescribed measure [of a substance], and afterwards transfers another half of the prescribed measure [of that substance] to the same domain in a single period of unawareness, he is liable.132

[Different rules apply if] he transfers [the two half-measures] to two different domains. If there is a domain into which one would be liable [for transferring an article interposed] between [the two domains], one is not liable [for transferring these two halves].133 If there is a carmelit between them, they are considered to be a single domain,134 and [the person who transfers the two half-measures] is liable to bring a sin offering.135

Halacha 25

When a person transfers less than the prescribed measure [of a substance], but before he places it down, [the substance] swells in size and reaches the prescribed measure [he is not liable].136 Similarly, one is not liable if one transfers more than the prescribed measure [of a substance], but before he places it down [the substance] diminishes in size and becomes less than the prescribed measure.

Halacha 26

[The following rule applies when] a person transfers a portion [of a food] the size of a dried fig with the intent of eating it,137 but before he places it down it diminishes in size: If he [reconsiders and] decides to use it to sow, or for medicinal purposes,138 he is liable, because of the intent he had at the time he placed it down.139

If a person transfers [a quantity of seeds] smaller than the size of a dried fig with the intent of sowing them, but before he places them down, changes his mind and decides to eat them, he is not liable.140 If [the seeds] swell in size before they are placed down and reach the size of a dried fig before141 he changes his mind [and decides to] eat them, he is liable.142 Even if he had not change his mind, he would still have been liable because of his original intent.

Halacha 27

When a person transfers a portion [of a food] the size of a dried fig with the intent of eating it, it diminishes in size, and then it swells [to the size of a dried fig] again before it is placed down, there is a question [whether he is liable or not]: [Does the fact that in the interim, it was not of sufficient size for its transfer to incur liability cause that liability] to be deferred [forever] or not?143

When a person throws a portion of the food the size of an olive into a house that is impure144 and by doing so, complements the quantity of food145 that was already in the house, causing there to be an amount [of food] the size of an egg [in the impure house], there is a question [whether he is liable or not]: Is he liable for transferring [the portion of] food that is equivalent to the size of an olive, because he completed the measure of food that is significant with regard to the laws of ritual impurity, or is he not liable?146

Halacha 28

A person who transfers less than the standard measure [of a substance] is not liable even though he transfers it in a container. [The rationale is that] the container is subsidiary [to its contents]; [when the person transfers it,] he is concerned not with the container, but with its contents.147

Accordingly, if a person transfers a man who is alive and who is not bound on a bed, he is not liable,148 for the bed is considered to be subsidiary to the man. These principles apply in all similar situations.

A person who transfers a perfumer's box is liable for only a single [sin offering], although it contains many different types [of scents].149 [Similarly,] even if he transfers [several items] in his hand,150 he is liable for only a single sin offering, for [he has performed] a single act of transfer.

FOOTNOTES
1.

All the authorities agree that a person is not liable until he transfers an amount of a substance large enough to be of benefit to a person, and that it is forbidden to transfer any article regardless of its size. The commentaries question, however, whether transferring less than a beneficial amount is forbidden according to Torah law or whether the prohibition is merely Rabbinic in origin.

Liability for most of the prohibitions of the Torah is associated with a specific measure (שיעור). For example, with regard to the majority of the prohibitions against eating forbidden foods, one is liable only if one eats a k'zayit (a measure of food the size of an olive). Should one eat less than that amount (חצי שיעור), one is considered to have transgressed the Torah's commandment. Nevertheless, one is not liable for punishment. (See Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 3:6, 7:15.)

The Mishneh LaMelech states that this same principle applies with regard to transferring objects on the Sabbath. Although one is liable only for transferring a beneficial amount, transferring any amount is forbidden by the Torah itself.

Note, however, Totza'ot Chayim (8) and others, who explain that according to the Rambam, there is no concept of חצי שיע ור with regard to the prohibition against work on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, a person is liable only for performing מלאכת מחשבת, "purposeful work." If an activity is not in itself beneficial, it does not serve a purpose. Therefore, it is not forbidden by the Torah on the Sabbath.

Kinat Eliyahu notes that in Halachah 23, the Rambam states that "A person who transfers half of the prescribed measure [of a substance] is not liable." According to the principles the Rambam states in Chapter 1, Halachah 3, the use of the term "is not liable" (פטור) indicates that the prohibition was instituted by our Sages. Significantly, in Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot, loc. cit., and in other places where the Rambam discusses this issue, he uses the term אסור, "forbidden." Thus the use of the term פטור in regard to the Sabbath laws clearly indicates a difference. See also S'dei Chemed, Klallim, Ma'areches Chatzi Shiur.

2.

See Chapter 12, Halachah 9, and notes.

3.

In this and in the following halachot, the Rambam proceeds to list the minimum amounts for which one is liable for transferring particular substances. As explained in Halachot 20-21, this applies when one transfers an object without any specific intent. If, however, one intends to use the article one transfers for a specific purpose, one is liable for transferring even a smaller amount.

4.

As the Rambam mentions in Chapter 8, Halachah 5, he considers a dried fig to be one-third the size of an egg. (As mentioned in the notes on that halachah, there are differing opinions regarding this measure.) Eating a smaller amount of food would not be significant at all. Therefore, one is not liable.

5.

I.e., it is not that one must transfer an amount equal to the size of a dried fig from one particular type of food. Even if one transfers this amount from a combination of different foods, one is liable.

6.

For they are not food.

7.

Shabbat 8:1 states "wine, enough to mix a cup." In his Commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam explains that a cup refers to the cup over which the grace after meals was recited, which must contain a revi'it. The wines of the Talmudic period were stronger, and it was customary to mix three portions of water to every portion of wine.

8.

Tosafot 76b defines this as מלא לוגמיו, "a cheekful." The Maggid Mishneh, however, explains that a smaller measure is intended.

9.

The popular translation of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.) mentions "river water" instead of "dew." Rav Kapach explains, however, that this is an erroneous translation of the Arabic, and there, too, the Rambam's intent is "dew."

10.

Rav Moshe Cohen objects to the fact that the Rambam mentioned a measure that is not spoken of in the Babylonian Talmud. The Maggid Mishneh notes that the Rambam's source is in the Jerusalem Talmud (Shabbat 8:1), which he favors in this instance, because there is a difference of opinion on this matter in the Babylonian Talmud.

11.

This represents somewhat of a new concept, because generally the Sages followed the principle (Shabbat 78a) that whenever an object has both an uncommon use and a common use, we follow the more lenient measure. For this reason, kosher milk, although just as beneficial as an eyewash as non-kosher milk, is considered to be a food. Accordingly, it is given a more lenient measure.

If so, the fact that honey is considered to be a salve instead of food raises questions. The Talmud, however, explains that since honey is also very commonly used as a salve, there is no difficulty.

12.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 6:8), the Rambam interprets this is as sores that come from improper amputations. (Note Rav Kapach's translation, which differs slightly from the standard text.)

13.

This is useful for mixing clay for building (Shabbat 78a).

14.

This is the most common use for this substance.

15.

A larger measure than stated previously. Bean straw is harder than grain straw and is therefore given to camels, who have stronger jaws and larger mouths.

16.

This reflects a general principle applicable with regard to the minimum measures for which one is liable for transferring: When a person has an individual desire for an object that makes it beneficial for him, he is liable even though most people would not use that object for that purpose. (See Halachah 20.)

17.

This refers to softer straw that need not be chewed as forcefully as the straw from grain mentioned at the beginning of the halachah ( Tiferet Yisrael, Shabbat 7:4). Hence, it is suitable for smaller animals with smaller and less-powerful mouths.

18.

A lamb's mouthful is equal to the size of a dried fig. Nevertheless, our Sages speak in terms of a lamb so that we will understand the motivating principle for this measure (Tosafot, Shabbat 76a).

19.

This is the smallest measure in this halachah.

20.

I.e., the leaves that sprout above ground (Tosefot Yom Tov, Shabbat 7:4).

21.

Since the cow will not normally eat the bean straw, the amount of straw the person has taken out is not beneficial. Hence, he is not l iable.

22.

For the camel will eat the grain straw. Thus, the person has taken out an amount of fodder that will be beneficial.

23.

This is the food that requires the least heat to cook (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 8:5).

24.

The egg will then cook faster. Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.).

25.

In the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), he mentions that the pot is already preheated, so that the wood must produce sufficient heat to cook the egg alone, and not to warm the pot as well.

26.

In the Talmudic era, it was common for the point of a reed to be sharpened to serve as a pen in a manner similar to a quill.

27.

I.e., the amount to cook a portion of an egg, as mentioned in the beginning of the halachah.

28.

The rationale is that all spices serve a similar purpose (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 9:5).

29.

Rashi (Shabbat 90a) explains that this does not refer to the species of pepper used as a spice (for if so, there is no reason to differentiate between it and other spices), but rather to a different species, which is used as a breath freshener.

30.

See the notes on Chapter 5, Halachah 10, regarding our translation of the name of this substance.

31.

Rashi (Shabbat 90a) states that this was used as a remedy for headaches. Even the slightest amount was beneficial.

32.

For people will appreciate its fragrance.

33.

For people will appreciate the removal of an unpleasant odor. Rashi (Shabbat 90a) offers a different interpretation.

34.

This also has a pleasant fragrance (Rashi).

35.

Our translation follows the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 9:6), which notes that these metals are mentioned in connection with spices and explains that this refers to parts of a utensil used for crushing spices. Even a small portion of metal is beneficial, because it can be fashioned into a needle or pin.

36.

See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 1:15.

37.

See Hilchot Sefer Torah 10:3-4.

38.

As mentioned in the sources cited in the previous two notes, we are obligated to show respect for even the slightest piece of any of these articles and entomb them, rather than allow them to be discarded as trash. Accordingly, even the smallest amount is considered significant. Hence, one is liable for transferring it on the Sabbath.

39.

For it may be used for cooking, or kindling a fire.

40.

Beitzah 39a explains that a flame has no substance. Hence, one is not liable. This applies, however, only when the person carries only a flame and not the coal, or the piece of wood that is burning.

41.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 9:7), the Rambam interprets this as referring to carrot seeds, turnip seeds, or onion seeds. (We have used Rav Kapach's translation which differs slightly from the standard text.)

42.

Were the seeds fit for human consumption, the minimum measure for which one would be liable would be the size of a dried fig. We assume that the primary reason for which a person would transfer seeds is to serve as food. Since these seeds, by contrast, are not fit for human consumption, they are given a smaller measure.

Rashi (Shabbat 90a) differs and explains that this law applies even to seeds that are fit for human consumption. Although these seeds are also fit to be eaten, a person usually takes them out with the intent of sowing them.

43.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.), where he interprets the Mishnaic phrase, פחות מכגרוגרת in this fashion. Note the Mayim Chayim, which interprets this as referring to a k'zayit.

44.

Since these seeds were more valuable than those of most garden vegetables, they were assigned a smaller measure.

45.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:4), the Rambam explains that bran is placed on the opening of the crucible during the smelting process. Rav Kapach explains (based on his experience as a jeweler) that the bran is intended to burn, and in that process to clear away impurities that cloud the smelter's vision.

46.

Which grow in vineyards. Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shvi'it 7:5).

47.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Pe'ah 6:10), the Rambam defines luf as a sub-species of onion.

48.

A species of beans.

49.

The commentaries note that although the Rambam's statements are based on the Tosefta, Shabbat 9:8, they are problematic, for there is another Tosefta (Ma'aser Sheni 1:13) that appears to be a direct contradiction. The difficulty is intensified by the fact that the Rambam also quotes the latter Tosefta in Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 7:8. It is possible, however, to explain the contradiction based on the possibility that in our halachah, the word ימתיקו, translated as "become sweet," is a euphemism and means "become bitter." See also Hilchot Tum'at Ochalin 1:14 and Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor 2:6, where the Rambam mentions similar subjects, and the Responsa of the Radbaz (Vol. V, Responsum 1425) and the Merkevet HaMishneh, who offer possible resolutions.

50.

Shabbat 90b quotes a similar, but slightly different passage from the Tosefta. We can assume that the Rambam's text of that passage differed from the one in our text of the Talmud.

51.

The amount necessary to cook an egg, as mentioned in Halachah 4.

52.

The seeds were used as a primitive calculator. Rashi (Shabbat 90b) explains that when transactions were made, a seed was used as a symbol for a gold coin.

53.

I.e., to use in the purification process of a metzora or a person who came into contact with a human corpse. (See Leviticus 14:6 and Numbers 19:18.)

54.

Isatis is a substance which produces an indigo dye. Similarly, nut shells and pomegranate shells are used to produce dyes.

55.

A root that produces a red dye.

56.

This represents a difference between the Rambam's interpretation of Shabbat 9:5 and that of other commentaries, including Rashi and Rav Ovadiah of Bertinoro. Instead of stating בגד קטן כסבכה, as in the Rambam's version of the Mishnah, the text quoted by the latter authorities states בגד קטן בסבכה, "a small cloth in the hairnet," referring not to the entire hairnet, but to one cloth within it.

57.

Note Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 9:37, which states that aged urine is one of the cleansing agents used to determine whether a stain is blood or not.

58.

These are also cleansing agents and are mentioned in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah (loc. cit.).

59.

The Mishnah (Shabbat 8:3) states that one is liable for transferring an amount of ink sufficient to write two letters. The Jerusalem Talmud (loc. cit.) states that one is not liable unless one transfers this amount of ink while it is on the pen. Otherwise, there is a doubt (as reflected in the following clause), for it is difficult for all the ink that is in an inkwell to be picked up by a pen.

60.

The person is not liable for transferring the quill or the inkwell, for they are considered secondary to the ink. As the Rambam states in Halachah 28, when a person transfers a measure for which he is not liable in a utensil, he is not liable for transferring the utensil, since it is considered secondary to its contents.

61.

The hanachah without which one is not liable for transferring.

62.

He is not liable for transferring. He is, however, liable for writing.

63.

At no one time did he transfer the minimum measure for which he would be held liable, for by the time he transfers the second portion of ink, part of the first portion will have dried. Therefore, he remains exempt (Rashi, Shabbat 80a).

64.

כחול, rendered by some translators as "stibium," was reputed to have medicinal properties in addition to its cosmetic qualities. Even if only one of a person's eyes was affected, it would be common for him to apply כחול to that eye alone. Hence, one is liable for transferring the amount necessary to paint one eye.

65.

Rashi, Shabbat 80a, relates that modest women would veil their faces entirely, exposing only one eye to enable them to see. They would, however, paint this eye.

66.

Rashi (loc. cit.) interprets this as referring to small villages, where frivolity was not commonplace. Therefore, women would walk outside with their faces uncovered. Hence, if a woman painted her eyes for cosmetic purposes, she would paint both eyes. Note the Ra'avad, who offers a different interpretation of that Talmudic passage.

67.

Rashi (Shabbat 78a) interprets this as referring to a phial of mercury that is sealed closed with these substances. Afterwards, a hole is made in the sulfur or tar with a pin through which the mercury can be poured, but through which it will not spill excessively if the b ottle falls on its side. The Meiri interprets the Talmud as referring to making a seal for a jug of wine.

68.

The Maggid Mishneh interprets this as referring to stopping a hole in a wine barrel.

69.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:4), the Rambam interprets this as referring to a board with paste taken into a dovecote on which the fledglings perch and are thus captured. Rashi (Shabbat 80a) interprets this as a board with paste used to catch wild fowl.

70.

A coin of the Talmudic period with a width of a handbreadth, approximately 8 cm. according to Shiurei Torah.

71.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:5), where he emphasizes that the Hebrew אדמה means both "earth" and "red."

72.

In the Talmudic period, letters were sealed with clay. This refers to a seal like that of a notary placed on a letter to testify to its authenticity.

73.

Rav Kapach notes that in this instance the Rambam does not state "a goldsmith's crucible," for crucibles used for smelting other metals need not be as heat-resistant as those used for gold.

74.

Shabbat 80b relates that plaster is mixed with sand in order to strengthen the structure.

75.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:4). Rashi (Shabbat 78b) interprets חרסית as "crushed brick."

76.

Shabbat 80b states that hair was mixed with clay when a crucible was fashioned for smelting gold.

77.

Shabbat 80b states that lime would be applied to the bodies of young girls, one limb at a time. Rashi states it would make their skin red. Tosafot maintains that it would whiten their skin.

78.

As Leviticus 17:13 states that after a bird or a wild animal is slaughtered, its blood must be covered with earth or ashes. (See Hilchot Shechitah, Chapter 14.)

79.

For in this way, the pebble will be beneficial in shooing the animal (Shabbat 81a).

80.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:2), the Rambam gives a more specific definition, mentioning an Arabic term that Rav Kapach identifies as cypress.

81.

This is a smaller measure than the amount sufficient to make a handle. Nevertheless, rope would not be used for this purpose, because it is coarse and might damage the utensil (Shabbat 78b).

82.

To use as a filter (ibid.).

83.

The Mishnah (Shabbat 8:6) mentions sharpening a needle. The Talmud (Shabbat 81a) mentions cutting threads. Apparently, the Rambam considers the two measures to be identical.

84.

Rashi, Shabbat 90b, states that these hairs were used by bird hunters.

85.

Rashi (ibid.) states these hairs are used in sewing leather.

86.

From the Rambam's statements, it appears that his interpretation - a nd perhaps even the wording in his text - of Shabbat 90b was different from Rashi's interpretation of our version of that passage. (See the commentaries of the Meiri and Rabbenu Chanan'el on that passage.)

87.

The Rambam's source appears to be the Tosefta, Shabbat 9:3 which states m'lo hasit kaful which, as mentioned in Chapter 9, Halachah 10, is equivalent to four handbreadths.

88.

See Hilchot Keilim 22:1.)

89.

Fabric made from camel's hair and other fibers that are rough and are therefore generally not used to make garments for humans.

90.

See Hilchot Keilim 23:3.

91.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:3), the Rambam interprets this as referring to the wrapping in which the amulet was held, and not to the amulet itself.

92.

Although at present, the word k'laf is commonly translated as "parchment," the Rambam is referring to a more specific meaning. In Hilchot Tefillin 1:6-8, he differentiates between three types of parchment, stating:

There are three types of parchment: g'vil, k'laf, and duchsustos.

What is implied? The hide of a domesticated or wild animal is taken. F irst, the hair is removed from it. Afterwards, it is salted and then prepared with flour. Then resin and other substances that cause the skin to contract and become harder are applied to it. In this state, it is called g'vil.

After the hair is removed, the hide may be taken and divided in half in the manner known to the parchment processors. Thus, there are two pieces of parchment: a thin one, which is on the side where the hair grew, and a thicker one, on the side of the flesh.

After it has been processed using salt, then flour, and then resin and the like, the portion on the side where the hair grew is called k'laf and the portion on the side of the flesh is called duchsustos.

It is a halachah transmitted to Moses on Mount Sinai that a Torah scroll should be written on g'vil on the side on which the hair had grown. When tefillin are written on k'laf, they should be written on the side of the flesh. When a mezuzah is written on duchsustos, it should be written on the side of the hair.

93.

This is the shortest passage of the four passages included in the tefillin. In the head-tefillin, each of these passages is written on a separate piece of parchment.

94.

This appears to be the Rambam's interpretation of the statement of the Mishnah (Shabbat 8:2), "One who transfers a customs officer's receipt is liable." Since the Mishnah already stated that a person who transfers a piece of paper large enough to write such a receipt is liable, it goes without saying that a person who transfers an unused receipt is liable. When explicitly telling us that a person is liable for transferring such a receipt, the Mishnah is obviously referring to a receipt that has already been used. See Shabbat 78b.

95.

Note Shabbat 78b, 79a which discusses the propriety of maintaining possession of such a promissory note.

96.

Since the paper has already been erased, it is no longer fit for writing. Therefore, it is considered to be suitable for other purposes and requires a larger measurement.

97.

Shabbat 94a quotes Rabbi Natan as stating, "A living creature carries itself." Although the Sages differ with him, their objections concern animals only, for the latter resist being carried and struggle to free themselves. In contrast, a human being assists in being carried. This is obvious from the fact that it is far easier to carry a living person than the same amount of "dead weight."

It must be emphasized that although there is no prohibition from the Torah against carrying a living person, our Sages forbade this. (See Mishnah Berurah 308:153,154.)

98.

For in this instance, the person being carried is unable to assist the one carrying him.

99.

I.e., the child must propel himself forward. His mother may not, however, drag him (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 308:41). Note the Mishnah Berurah 308:154, which states that the principle, "A living being carries itself," does not apply to a child unless he is old enough to take steps by himself.

100.

As reflected in Halachah 28, when a person transfers two articles, one of primary importance and one of secondary importance, whether or not he is liable depends on the article of primary importance. If he would be liable for transferring this article by itself, he is liable. If not, he is not liable. The article of secondary importance is of no significance whatsoever.

When does this apply? When the article of secondary importance is subsidiary to the article of primary importance. If they are, as in the example cited in this halachah, two unrelated objects, the person is liable for transferring the article of secondary importance.

101.

They are considered to be separate objects, unrelated to the person who is holding them.

102.

Shabbat 90b states that locusts are often used as playthings for children. Hence, regardless of the locust's size, one is liable.

The Rambam's ruling is quoted from the Mishnah (Shabbat 9:7), which also mentions two opinions: One that maintains that this applies only to a kosher locust, and that of Rabbi Yehudah, which states that it applies to all locusts, whether kosher or nonkosher. In his Commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam states that the halachah does not follow Rabbi Yehudah's opinion.

From the fact that the Rambam does not mention whether the locust must be kosher or not in this halachah, the Merkevet HaMishneh concludes that he has reversed his opinion and accepts Rav Yehudah's view. Others differ and maintain that this is clarified by the second clause, which mentions "[an amount] the size of a dried fig" - i.e., the measure applying to food. Just as the second clause applies only to kosher locusts, so too, does the first clause.

103.

As mentioned in the previous note, this is the minimum measurement for food.

104.

In Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 1:21 the Rambam (as does Rabbenu Chanan'el and the Aruch) defines this as a species of kosher locusts. Others define it as a bird.

105.

Shabbat 10:1 states that one is liable for transferring even the slightest amount of any substance that is retained for its medicinal purposes.

106.

According to Shabbat 90b, partaking of such a creature enhances one's intellectual capacities.

107.

Shabbat 93b-94a states that Rabbi Shimon exempts a person from liability in this instance, for in contrast to other situations, the person is not removing the impure object because he desires it itself, but because he desires the place to be free of impurity. Hence, this is a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה, a labor that is not performed for the same purpose for which the labor was performed in the construction of the Sanctuary. In the construction of the Sanctuary, articles were transfered because they were, themselves, desired. In contrast, in this instance, the person's intent is to remove impurity. Nevertheless, as the Rambam rules in Chapter 1, Halachah 7, one is liable for performing a מלאכה שאינה צריכה לגופה.

108.

See Hilchot Tum'at Meit 2:1-2.

109.

See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah 1:1.

110.

More specifically, this refers to the eight species mentioned in Leviticus 11:29- 30. (See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah 4:2.)

111.

In this instance, the phrase "half the size of an olive" is not intended to serve as an exact measure. The intent is any measure that will reduce the size of the portion of the animal carcass to less than the size of an olive. The same principles apply to flesh from a human corpse.

112.

For an amount large enough to convey ritual impurity still remains intact.

113.

Since even the small amount of the substance the person transfers is valuable to him, he has a reason for transferring it. Accordingly, his act is considered to be "purposeful." See the notes to Halachah 1.

114.

The commentaries note that Halachah 6 mentions taking seeds for sowing and mentions specific measures. Among the possible resolutions is that there is ordinarily a measure for seeds as well. This halachah, however, specifically focuses on the exceptions to the general rule, and there are indeed individuals who will sow a single seed in a flower pot (Rav Kapach, Kinat Eliyahu).

115.

Note the Mishneh LaMelech, who states that with this statement the Rambam does not intend to negate totally the measures he mentioned previously. For example, if a person transfers food, he is not liable unless it is the size of a dried fig. Even if a particular person desires to eat a smaller amount, that intent is not considered significant, since most people would not appreciate such an amount. In this halachah, the Rambam is stating that in certain instances, as in the examples he mentions, there is a particular intent which requires merely a tiny amount of a substance to be accomplished. In such an instance, the person is liable for transferring an object of this small size.

116.

Before the commencement of the Sabbath (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Shabbat 10:1).

117.

On the Sabbath (ibid.).

118.

I.e., even if he forgot the intent for which he originally stored away the article.

119.

By setting the article aside for a specific purpose, the person shows that it is important to him, regardless of its size. Therefore, if he later transfers the article, he is liable (Shabbat 90b, 91a).

120.

I.e., the intent a particular individual has for an article is important regarding the measure for which he is liable for transferring that article. It does not affect the status of that article vis-a-vis others.

121.

As opposed to being mixed together with the other objects in the storeroom. This might be considered to be a sign that it is being saved for a specific purpose.

122.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 7:3), the Rambam interprets this phrase as excluding an article that is commonplace and easily obtainable. Therefore, it is not stored away. [Note Rav Ovadiah of Bertinoro and Rashi (Shabbat 75b), who interpret this as excluding an amount of a substance smaller than the prescribed measure.]

123.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (ibid.), the Rambam explains that this excludes objects that will spoil if stored.

124.

By storing the article in question, the person indicates that he considers it important. Therefore, he is liable for transferring it.

125.

The intent is any amount less than the full measure.

126.

See the notes on the first halachah of this chapter which discuss whether the prohibition against this activity stems from the Torah itself or is Rabbinic in origin. As mentioned there, according to the principles the Rambam states in Chapter 1, Halachah 3, the use of the word פטור indicates that the prohibition was instituted by our Sages.

127.

For he has transferred a full measure of the article in question. As the Maggid Mishneh mentions, it is clear from the following halachah that this refers to actions performed in a single period of unawareness.

128.

Since a full measure of the entity in question was never transferred into the second domain and placed down there at a single time, the person is not liable.

129.

Based on the principle of l'vud, an article held within three handbreadths of a second article is considered as having been placed down on that article, as implied by Chapter 13, Halachah 6. Therefore, the two half-measures of the substance in question are considered to have been placed down in the same place. Hence, the person who placed them down is liable. See the commentary of Rabbenu Chananel to Shabbat 80a.

130.

Even if it passes within three handbreadths of the ground, as long as it does not come to rest even momentarily (see Chapter 13, Halachah 16, and notes).

131.

As mentioned in the notes on the halachah cited above, it would appear that the object would have to come to rest on a substance four handbreadths by four handbreadths, or come to rest within three handbreadths of the ground.

132.

One is liable to bring a sin offering for performing a forbidden labor only if one performed the labor without intent to violate the Torah's commandments. Furthermore, if in the midst of one's performance of a forbidden activity, one becomes conscious of the prohibition involved, even if one loses awareness immediately afterwards and completes the measure of forbidden activity without the desire to violate the law, one is not liable. (See Hilchot Shegagot 6:8.)

133.

As long as the two half-measures were taken from the same original domain and placed down together in the same domain, they can be combined. If, however, a totally separate domain interposes between them, the two actions cannot be considered to be complementary.

134.

For according to the Torah, a carmelit is considered to be a makom patur. (See the notes on Chapter 14, Halachah 1). Hence, it is not considered to be an interruption between the two domains.

135.

The commentaries note the apparent contradiction between the Rambam's ruling here and his ruling in Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 1:11. (See the gloss of the Lechem Mishneh on that halachah.)

136.

As explained in Chapter 13, Halachah 5, the forbidden labor of transferring involves removing an article from one domain and placing it down in another domain. A sin offering is not required unless both activities are performed in a forbidden manner.

137.

Thus the akirah (removal) of the article is performed when the article is of sufficient size to incur liability (Halachah 1).

138.

In which case, he is liable, regardless of the size of the article (Halachah 20).

139.

Since at the time of both the removal and the placing down (hanachah) of the substance, its size was sufficient to incur liability according to the intent which the person had in mind, he is liable. The fact that he experienced a change of mind in the interim is not of consequence.

140.

For at the time he placed the object down, it was not of sufficient size to incur liability.

141.

Based on the following halachah, it is clear that the increase in the seed's size must take place before the person's change of mind.

142.

For at the time the article was removed from its original place and it the time it was placed down, it was of sufficient size to incur liability.

143.

The question of the Rambam (based on Shabbat 91b) is whether the fact that the object was too small for its transfer to incur liability in the time between its akirah and its hanachah causes these actions to be considered as unconnected or not.

Note the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh on Hilchot Sh'ar Avot HaTum'ah 4:13, which quotes the distinction made by Rav Yitzchak Korcus between that halachah and the present one.

144.

Because of the presence of a corpse or the presence of tzara'at.

145.

The Maggid Mishneh questions why the Rambam changes the wording used in the source for this teaching (Shabbat, loc. cit.), which mentions food that is terumah and applies this concept to all foods. The Mishneh LaMelech, however, resolves this difficulty, explaining that according to the Rambam's conception of the laws of ritual impurity (see Hilchot Tum'at Ochalin 4:1), there is no difference between terumah and other foods.

146.

The commentaries cite this passage as a source, teaching that a dried fig is larger than an olive. Ordinarily, a person who transfers an amount of food the size of an olive is not liable. Nevertheless, this instance is different, because of the laws of ritual impurity.

Food cannot impart ritual impurity to other substances unless a portion equivalent to the size of an egg is present. Thus, before the person threw the food into the house, there was not sufficient food there to impart impurity, and the food he threw in completed that measure. Hence, the Rambam (based on Shabbat, loc. cit.) asks whether the fact that the transfer of the food is significant with regard to the laws of ritual impurity is of consequence with regard to the Sabbath laws.

147.

Since the container is desired only because of its function as an accessory for its contents, it is not considered to be an entity in its own right. Unless the person has a desire for it itself, he is not liable for transferring it, regardless of its size. (See Shabbat 93b.)

Likkutei Sichot (Vol. XVII, p. 48, Vol. XIX, p. 193) focuses on the homiletic dimensions of this halachah, interpreting it as an indication of how an object's spiritual qualities are of such primacy that they eclipse totally its material dimensions.

148.

This ruling depends on the principle stated in Halachah 16: "A living creature carries itself." As mentioned in that halachah, this principle does not apply if the person is bound. Since the person would not be liable for carrying the man, he is also not liable for carrying the bed on which he is lying.

149.

Although the box contains several distinct entities, the person is considered to have performed a single forbidden activity. Therefore, he is not liable for a separate sin offering for every article he transfers.

150.

With this clause, the Rambam indicates that this ruling is not dependent on the principle (see Chapter 12, Halachah 11) that the contents of a box are considered to be a single entity, but on a different rationale.

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