Saturday, October 28, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 2 - Courage to be Lenient

Rav Nachman explains that the dispute in the Mishnah refers to a hen which is designated to produce eggs and is not designated for consumption. Bais Shammai is in accordance with Rabbi Shimon who maintains that there is normally no prohibition of muktzeh and therefore one would even be permitted to eat an item that was not in existence before Yom Tov. Bais Hillel, however, is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah and therefore one cannot eat the egg on Yom Tov. The Gemara asks that if the dispute between Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel is regarding a prohibition of muktzeh, then why they not argue regarding the hen itself which will be muktzeh according to Beis Hillel. The Gemara answers that the Mishnah wanted to notify us regarding the extent of Bais Shammai’s leniency that even though the egg was not in existence and should thus be considered nolad, something which just came into existence on Yom Tov and should be forbidden, and one is still permitted to eat it. The Gemara then asks that if Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel would dispute the hen itself, we could learn a novel ruling prohibiting muktzeh as Bais Hillel would prohibit the hen from being eaten. The Gemara answers with the classic principle that it is preferable to render a permissible ruling. Rashi explains that this means that something that is permitted indicates that the Tanna is relying on his knowledge of the subject matter and is not afraid to rule leniently. One can be strict even if he is in doubt and it does not necessarily indicate the conclusiveness of the ruling.

Rashbam in Pesachim (102a) writes that if there is no compelling logic to rule stringently, then ruling leniently is not regarded as a more preferred option. Rather, it is the only option. The Rema in his responsa (54) rules that one is not allowed to be stringent regarding an issue where there is no uncertainty. Pischei Teshuvah (Yoreh Deah 116:10) cites a dispute amongst the Acharonim if one is permitted to be stringent for himself regarding a matter that has been permitted by the Torah, such as prohibited matter that was nullified. Bnei Yissachar writes that it is a mitzvah not to be stringent in such a situation.

The Tzlach writes that it is preferable to record the permitted ruling regarding a situation that may be subject to a biblical prohibition, because if there would be uncertainty, we would be compelled to rule stringently. The Tanna would not be introducing a novel ruling if the ruling was that the matter is prohibited. Regarding a matter that may be subject to a rabbinic prohibition, however, the reverse would be true. It is preferable to record the stringent ruling because if there would be uncertainty, we would rule leniently.
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