Friday, November 03, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 5 - More on clapping on Shabbos

Reb Dave wrote:
These Poskim write that if the reason is not longer valid, the decree is no longer valid. In fact, that is one of the reasons we are allowed to dance and clap our hands on shabbos, even though it was originally outlawed for fear one might come to fashion an instrument - it is becasue we are not skilled enough. I beleive the Rama states this, but he is challenged by the Magen Avraham.Question: The reason we are prohibited from swimming on Shabbos is b/c we are concerned one may come to make a flotation device. ( Contrary to the popular idea that it has to do with squezzing hair). But how many peopel today can do this? Should we then be permitted to swim on Shabbos

Rabbi Doniel Neustadt responds:
Firstly making a floating device is a lot less complicated than making a musical instrument. Any geshikete fellow can make a makeshift floating deviceSecondly, the Rama's shita is very difficult to understand even by music, and we dare not stretch it any moreThirdly, and most important, the real reason why nowadays we do not swim is because of the old minghag Yisrael not to dip one's entire body on Shabbos even in cold water because of the concern that it may lead to sechitah or carrying; see Mishnah Berurah 326:21.
Rabbi Ephraim Nissenbaum adds:
I only saw the piece of the posting that was e-mailed to me, but the comparison to clapping on Shabbos is a little different. Although the Rema says that we don't know how to fix instruments today, the Biur Halacha says from Elya Rabba that the Rema is not permitting every type of clapping or dancing. He's not clear what he does permit )I didn't see the Elya Rabba) but it sounds like he's saying that Chazal only prohibited certain types of clapping and dancing, and we're not going to prohibit any more since we don't know how to fix the instruments anyway. The Aruch Hashulchan says this clearly, that our clapping and dancing is a different type than they used to do....


joshwaxman said...

consider whether to delete this comment or not, because of silliness or because of the fact that Rema himself says "mutav..."

The Rema in question is in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, 339 seif 3, where he comments:
. הגה: והא דמספקין ומרקדין האידנא ולא מחינן בהו משום דמוטב שיהיו שוגגין וכו'. וי"א דבזמן הזה הכל שרי, דאין אנו בקיאין בעשיית כלי שיר וליכא למגזר שמא יתקן כלי שיר דמלתא דלא שכיח הוא ואפשר שעל זה נהגו * (י) להקל בכל (תוספות סוף פרק המביא כדי יין).

Thus, his first reason is that it is in fact wrong, but not to tell. He then proceeds to offer a rationalization for existing custom. I would say he is not pleased with this development, but his citation of the yesh omrim is part of a trend among Rishonim and Acharonim to rationalize existing custom even while expressing reservations about it. So one should not go out and broadly apply a principle which is applied with extreme difficultly and duress even where it was applied.

Note that in reference to the question, in the first seif the Mechaber brings down the prohibition of swimming, and the Rema does NOT offer the out that the questioner offered - because he does not really hold that it is a strongly valid reason.

Thinking Man said...

Everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room: If the reason doesn't apply, why are we still doing it? We would riddicule some African bushman tribe that will not eat meat today b/c someone once died from food poisining two thousand yers ago - are we not doing the exact same thing, all lomdishe rationales aside? " Zoo hee koshiah sh'ain alav teshuvah". Truly, it makes no sense.