Saturday, November 25, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 30 - When the Reason doesn't Apply (Untzumdritimel)

The Gemara cites a Mishna that states that one is not allowed to clap or dance on Shabbos or Yom Tov. Rashi explains that the reason that one is prohibited from performing any of these actions is because they can lead to one fixing musical instruments. Tosfos states that this prohibition only applied in those days when they were experts in fashioning musical instruments. Presently, however, the decree does not apply, because we do not know how to fashion these instruments.

The Rema (O.C. 339:3) rules in accordance with Tosfos. Teshuvos HaRema (125) writes that there was an incident where a marriage occurred on Friday night and the people were not concerned that the groom would write the kesuvah, marriage contract on Shabbos. The reason for this permit was because it is not common in our times for the groom to write his own kesuvah and proof to this is from our Tosfos.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l poses an interesting question. The halacha is that presently we do not have a legally qualified reshus harabim and for this reason one would be permitted to walk in a public thoroughfare on Shabbos while wearing various ornaments. According to this ruling, then, why are we still forbidden to blow shofar, shake a lulav and read the Megillah. Regarding these mitzvos there is a concern that one may come to carry the shofar, lulav or Megillah in the reshus harabim. Yet, the halacha is that our public thoroughfares are not deemed to be a legal reshus harabim, so we should no longer have these concerns.

Reb Shlomo Zalman also questions the opinion of the Raavad who maintains that muktzeh is forbidden on account of a rabbinical decree that one should not come to carry into a reshus harabim. Why should this decree still apply when there is no longer a legally qualified reshus harabim?

Rav Shlomo Zalman explains that Tosfos is only referring to musical instruments. In previous times, everyone was capable of playing and repairing musical instruments. For this reason there was a decree prohibiting clapping and dancing. In our times, however, only a minority of people is capable of fixing musical instruments and because it is uncommon for people to fix musical instruments, there is no necessity for the decree against clapping and dancing.

We discussed these issues previously on Dafnotes on Daf 5. Here is the discussion and the comments.

Daf Yomi - Beitza 5 - Decrees where the reason does not apply any longer

Rabbah maintained that Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai rescinded the prohibition against accepting witnesses after the offering of the afternoon tamid sacrifice, and subsequently an egg that was laid on the first day of Rosh HaShanah was permitted to be eaten on the second day. Rav Yosef challenged Rabbah’s ruling because if the Chachamim assembled to render a ruling, they would need to reassemble to revoke their ruling. Rav Yosef added that one could not say that Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai convened with his colleagues to permit one to eat the egg, because their decision was only to accept the testimony after the offering of the afternoon tamid sacrifice, but they never took a vote on permitting the egg to be eaten.

Tosfos rules that a matter that was only prohibited for a specific amount of time will be permitted once that time period elapses. Tosfos on Daf 6 writes that a matter that was only prohibited because of a specific concern will be permitted when the concern no longer exists. This principle justifies why we do not have to be concerned for water that was exposed at night and one is allowed to drink from it because in modern times snakes are not frequent in our homes.

Tosfos HaRosh in Avodah Zara (2a) rules that one is permitted to conduct business with gentiles during their holiday season as initially this was prohibited because gentiles in the past worshipped idols and now that gentiles do not worship idols, the decree is irrelevant.

Tosfos in Brachos (53b) writes that people are not scrupulous regarding mayim acharonim , washing the hands at the end of a meal, because we no longer have melach sedomis, salt from Sodom. Tosfos notes that although the practice of washing mayim achronmim was instituted by an assembly of a Bais Din, this institution was not unanimously accepted and thus this institution is not categorized as a ruling that is irrevocable unless a Bais Din reassembles and rescinds the ruling.

Reb Shlomo Kluger in Elef Lecho Shlomo (116) rules that one is permitted to learn by candlelight on Shabbos and we are not concerned that he may come to move the wick which will cause the fire to burn brighter, thus violating a biblical prohibition, because one does not need to move the wick of our present-day candles.

Teshuvos HaRosh (klal 2:8) rules that one is permitted to tie strings of linen on a four-cornered garment that is made from linen to fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzis and we are not concerned that one might tie strings of wool to the garment. The reason for this ruling is because all know that techeiles, a blue-dyed wool used for tzitzis, is not prevalent, thus there is no permit to tie strings of wool to a linen garment.

Teshuvos HaRosh writes that if is common knowledge why a decree was instituted and the rationale no longer applies, then the decree is considered irrelevant. Teshuvos HaRosh draws a contrast of this supposition to the case in our Gemara regarding the egg that was laid on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, because some people are not aware whey the egg was initially prohibited, nor do they understand why the reason to prohibit no longer applies.

Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha rules that if necessary, one is permitted to take medicine on Shabbos. Taking medicine on Shabbos was initially forbidden as there was a concern that one would violate the prohibition of grinding. Now that medicine is prepared by the manufacturer and most people are not even aware of the process involved in manufacturing the medicine, there is no longer a concern that one who wishes to take medicine will violate the Shabbos prohibition of grinding herbs or spices.

Leapa said...
Apropos to gezeiros which may no longer apply, and the Daf.

1. Why is Rosh Hoshana on the first and second day of Tishrei, rather than on the 30th of Elul and the first of Tishrei?

2. Why is Rosh Hoshana 2 days in Israel?

Wed Nov 01, 11:42:07 AM 2006

Avromi said...
Rava on daf 5b on the bottom learns that even after the churban if witnesses came after mincha, both days would be kodosh and the original takanah of both days being one kedusha still remained.
this says the Rosh is the source for E"Y to still have two days now.

Look in Baal Hamaor whi disagrees and actually states that there was a long period of time kept only one day.Milchamos (Ramban) disagrees vehemently.

Wed Nov 01, 04:07:14 PM 2006

Avromi said...
I found this elsewhere and I disagree below:

TheProf said...

The reason Rosh Hashono is on 1 and 2 Tishrei and not 30 Elul and 1 Tishrei like other molei month end Rosh Chodesh is that the 1st day of Rosh Hashono would then actually be the last day of last year. Since the 1st day is actually 1 Tishrei, all of the Yomtov is in the New Year.
The reason it is also 2 days in Israel is because when Chazal originally made Rosh Hashono 2 days, it was during the time of the Bais Hamikdosh and the concept remained after the Churban because of the concept of "ishtaked", people may forget from year to year and observe the Yomtov on the wrong date.

here's why:

I would disagree with the professor since rashi on today's daf explicitly states that when the witnesses didnot come until mincha, both days would be rosh hashana and the first day would be elul 30 and the next day 1 tishrei.

Wed Nov 01, 04:25:43 PM 2006

David said...
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

Thu Nov 02, 11:15:46 AM 2006

ben said...
From: Rabbi Doniel Neustadt.

Firstly making a floating device is a lot less complicated than making a musical instrument. Any geshikete fellow can make a makeshift floating device

Secondly, the Rama's shita is very difficult to understand even by music, and we dare not stretch it any more

Thirdly, 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.

Thu Nov 02, 06:24:09 PM 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.

Fri Nov 03, 02:25:39 PM 2006

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.

Sun Nov 05, 11:03:03 AM 2006

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 30 - Red and Green Decorations

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 10 - "Holiday" Decorations (A review again)

The Gemara discusses hanging ornaments to beautify the Sukkah. The Shelah writes that hanging ornaments in the Sukkah reflects our endearment for the mitzvah of Sukkah. Thus, the more one enhances the beauty of the Sukkah with ornaments, the more praiseworthy he is. Amongst the various items that the Gemara lists for the purpose of decorating the Sukkah are fruits and foods such as grapes, wine, oil and flour. It is noteworthy that these same items are listed in the Gemara Avodah Zara 51 as items that are used for idol worship. Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha (ad loc) rules that one does not have to be concerned with using items for Sukkah decorations even if these same items are used by the gentiles for their winter holidays season. The Chasam Sofer (Orach Chaim 42) rules in a similar vein that one can use for lighting in the synagogue candles that were designated for idolatry but were not actually used in the pagan service. Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha to our Gemara explains why one who uses items that are designated for idolatry is not in violation of the prohibition not to walk in the ways of the gentiles who worship idols. The reason for this is because the Gemara (Sanhedrin 52) states that one can perform any action that is recorded in the Torah, even if such an action subsequently was performed for idolatry. A Jew is not performing the act on account of the idolaters. Rather, he is performing the act because this is what he has been instructed to do by the Torah. The same idea can be said regarding the Sukkah decorations mentioned in the Gemara. One would be allowed to hang Sukkah decorations that are used by the gentiles for their holiday season, as a Jew would be hanging the decorations because the decorations are mentioned in the Gemara and not on account of the gentile’s custom.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 30 - Which Walls are Forbidden?

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 9 - Which Walls are Forbidden? (A review - perhaps we will get another explanation.)

The Ran rules that the prohibition to derive pleasure is only on the walls which are needed for the sukkah to be valid, but anything more than that is deemed extra and therefore, one would be permitted to sit in the portion of the sukkah that was not needed. However, the Ran concludes that if the entire sukkah was built at the same time, one would be forbidden to derive pleasure from the entire sukkah. Tosfos holds that whatever is more than what is neceesary for the sukkah will only be prohibited midrobanan.

The Aruch Lener states that he doesn't understand their logic for before the Yom Tov of Sukkos begins, there is no prohibition and it only become forbidden when Sukkos begins and it is used for the mitzva. At that time, the entire sukkah is built, so what would be the difference between the walls which were built first or later?

I didn't see an explanation of this yet.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 30 - Demonstrations against Chilul Shabbos by Reb Jay

The Rema writes that the rule that mutav sheyihyu shogegin velo mazidin, we do not need to inform someone that he is committing a transgression if the person will not listen, only applies to a matter that is not explicit in the Torah. An example of this ruling is regarding women who eat on Erev Yom Kippur until nightfall should not be informed that one is required to be mosif michol al HaKodesh, to add on from the weekday to the Holy, if we are certain that they will not listen. This is despite the fact that there is a biblical commandment to add on to the sanctity of Yom Kippur. Regarding a prohibition that is explicit in the Torah, however, i.e. the prohibition against eating pig, even if we know for certain that the person will not listen, we still inform him of the prohibition involved. The reason for this ruling is because one is obligated to rebuke his friend. The Biur Halacha writes that the ruling of the Rema refers to people who sin occasionally. People who constantly sin and they sin lehachis, to anger HaShem, however, are not prepared to listen to rebuke and one is not required to rebuke such people, as they are no longer included in the category of amisecha, your people. For this reason, the Chazon Ish was not in favor of people who demonstrated against chillul Shabbos, as he held that one is not obligated to protest the actions of these sinners, and if anything, protesting would merely antagonize the sinners and make them more hateful of religious Jews (from Maaseh Ish).

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 29 - Weekday Activity

The Mishna rules that one may not bring pitchers of wine from place to place in a basket or a box on Yom Tov. Rashi explains that carrying packages in this manner appears as a weekday activity and therefore it is forbidden.

The Mishna continues that one is permitted to carry one or two pitchers on his shoulder. Rashi explains that it is evident from the manner in which he is carrying them that they are necessary for Yom Tov and that is why it is allowed.

Reb Menachem Kohn Zt"l in his sefer Ateres Avi explains why Rashi did not explain the reason for permitting the carrying of the wine on his shoulder because it is not a weekday activity. He states that perhaps during the week one would carry one pitcher on his shoulder and therefore Rashi was compeled to state the reason that it's permitted is because it is apparent that he is carrying them for Yom Tov.

The Acharonim discuss the prohibition of performing an action on Yom Tov that resembles a weekday activity. Is the reason for the prohibition because it appears as if the person is doing this action because of his weekday needs? Or perhaps, even if it is evident that his objective is for his yom Tov needs, it is forbidden because this an action that is common to be done during the weekday?

It would appear from our Gemora and Rashi's explanation that the first reason is the correct one and that is why one is permitted to carry the pitcher of wine on his shoulder even though this is a wekday activity. It is allowed because it is evident that he is carrying the wine because he needs the wine for Yom Tov.

Ateres Avi cites Harav Moshe Feinstein (O"C 4:74 Tochen:4) who explains that one is prohibited from performing an action on Yom Tov that is regarded as a weekday activity because on Yom Tov one is required to perform actions in a temporary manner and in a way that shows that the action is needed for Yom Tov. During the week, one is particular on the method of his actions and his actions are performed in a permanent manner. This explains why Rashi stated that carrying a pitcher of wine on his shoulder is permitted since it is apparent that he needs it for Yom Tov. It is this precise reason that creates the distinction between a weekday permanent action and a Yom Tov temporary one.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 29- Lekavod Shabbos

The Mishnah records certain actions that one should not perform on Yom Tov in their usual manner so that the actions are distinguished from weekday activities. Weekday activities are referred to as עובדא דחול. The word חול, besides meaning mundane, also means sand. Sand functions to create a barrier between the sea and dry land. Similarly, Shabbos and Yom Tov serve as a barrier from the mundane, as on Shabbos and Yom Tov one can experience true holiness.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 28 - Taking Something Without Permission

The Gemora relates an incident that there were seven fish delivered to the house of Rebbe and five of them were found in Rebbe Chiya's house. The Gemora states that Rebbe's son, Rabbi Shimon was not particular that Rebbe Chiya received a larger portion than he did. It is evident from the Gemora that Rebbe Chiya took the fish by himself and Rabbi Shimon did not give them to him.

Sefer Tal Torah brings a proof from this Gemora that one is permitted to take something from someone else without his permission if it is known that he will not be particular about it. This is the opinion of the Shach (C"M 358) and not like the Hagaos Ashri and Tosfos in Bava Metzia (22a).

Tal Torah concludes that perhaps it is not a proof since we could speculate that Rabbi Shimon gave Rebbe Chiya a larger portion many times in the past and therefore everyone would agree that Rebbe Chiya would be permitted to take extra without permission.

I noticed that Kollel Iyun Hadaf here offers another distinction between this incident and the case that Tosfos is referring to. Rashi's words imply that Rebbe merely left the fish in a place where he normally left things for any of the Talmidim to take; he did not specifically designate the fish for Rebbe Chiya. Accordingly, Rebbe Chiya, who was one of the Talmidim, had permission to take it even though Rebbe did not give it specifically to him.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 28 - Sharpening the Knife

The Mishna rules that one may not sharpen the shechita knife on Yom Tov in the manner in which he would do it during the weekday. One is permitted to prepare foods by performing a melocha providing that it is with the food directly.

The Ran in the first perek stated that one is permitted to carry the shechita knife in a public domain on Yom Tov since this is regarded as preparing the food and not just a preliminary phase. The Avnei Neizer (O"C 410) explains that it is considered ochel nefesh because the person is bringing the knife closer to the food.

Rav Shlomo Zalman comments that this is understandable only if the knife is already usable to perform the shechita; however where the knife would still require sharpening, then it cannot be considered ochel nefesh and that is why the Mishna prohibits sharpening the knife.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 27 - Seeing the teacher

The Gemara states that a disciple said, “May I be privileged to go up to Eretz Yisroel where Rabbi Zeira lives and learn this ruling from the mouth of its master.” The Yerushalmi in Shekalim states that one should always have the image of the author of a ruling before him. Thus, we see that it is of utmost importance that one not only learn from those that are greater than him, but one should see the teacher of a ruling, as the vision of the teacher will inspire him to greater heights in Torah study and in fear of Heaven.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 27 - When did Rabbi Tarfon Live?

The Mishna rules that if an animal dies on Yom Tov, it is forbidden to move it since it has no permissible use. The Mishna relates a story where an animal died on Yom Tov and Rabbi Tarfon asked in the Beis Medrash if it may be moved. They responded that it may not be moved.

The Gemora cites the opinion of Rabbi Shimon who maintains that an animal that dies on Yom Tov is not muktza. It would seem that Rabbi Shimon's view would not be consistent with the opinion cited in the Mishna. The Gemora concludes that our Mishna can be referring to an animal of kodshim and there even Rabbi Shimon would admit that one would be prohibited from moving the carcass. One cannot derive any benefit from kodshim that dies and therefore it is considered muktza.

Rashi offers several reasons why one would not be able to redeem this animal and subsuquently benefit from the animal.

Pnei Yehoshua asks that the korban that we are referring to must be a bechor. This can be proven by the fact that Rabbi Tarfon lived many years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh and the only korbanos that are found after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh are bechoros. The halacha is clear that a bechor cannot be redeemed since its sanctity is from the womb and not by one's mouth. Why is Rashi bothered with the possibility of benefit through redemption?

Rav Shlomo Zalman answers that since the Mishna relates that Rabbi Tarfon did not know the halachic ruling on this issue, it is possible to speculate that this incident transpired when Rabbi Tarfon was extremely young and at that time the Beis Hamikdosh was still standing. It can therefore be referring to any korban, which is why Rashi is discussing the possibility of redemption.

The Gemora in Kiddushin (71a) relates that Rabbi Tarfon (who was a kohen) recalled going with his uncle (who was also a kohen) to the Beis Hamikdosh for Birchas Kohanim.

It is a bit odd that the Pnei Yehoshua states that Rabbi Tarfon lived MANY years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh.

I found this from Wikipedia.

Tarfon or Tarfon, (Hebrew: טרפון , from the Greek Tryphon), a member of the third generation of the Mishnah sages, who lived in the period between the destruction of the Temple (70 C.E.) and the fall of Bethar (135 C.E.). He is said to have lived in Yavneh, although it is evident that he lived also in Lydda. He was of priestly lineage, and he expressly stated that he officiated in the Temple in Jerusalem. As a priest, he would demand the heave-offering even after the Temple had fallen, while his generosity made him return to the father the redemption-money for the first-born, although it was his priestly perquisite.

Although wealthy, he possessed extraordinary modesty; in one instance he deeply regretted having mentioned his name in a time of peril, since he feared that in using his position as teacher to escape from danger he had seemingly violated the rule against utilizing knowledge of the Torah for practical ends.

Rabbi Tarfon was an adherent of the school of Shammai, though he was inclined toward leniency in the interpretation of those halakhot of Shammai which had not actually been put into practise; often he decided in direct opposition to the followers of Shammai when they imposed restrictions of excessive severity.

R. Tarfon engaged in halakhic controversies with Rabbi Akiva, with R. Simeon, and R. Eleazar ben Azaryah. He is mentioned briefly with regard to Bruriah. In the discussion as to the relative importance of theory and practise, Tarfon decided in favor of the latter. R. Tarfon was extremely bitter against those Jews who had been converted to Christianity and he swore that he would burn every book of theirs which should fall into his hands, his feeling being so intense that he had no scruples against destroying the Gospels, although the name of God occurred frequently in them. Justin Martyr's Dialog with Trypho, a proof of Christianity from the Old Testament, purports to be a dialog with Tarfon, though this has been held to be a literary device rather than historical (see Schiffman).

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 27 - Blemished Bechor to the Kohen

Reb Yehuda Nesia sent a bechor to Rav Ami for him to determine if it had a permanent blemish or not. Rashi states that Reb Yehuda had kohanim in his house who would eat the bechoros.

Why did Reb Yehuda have to give the bechor to the kohanim to eat? A bechor that has a blemish is permitted even to a Yisroel? Pnei Yehoshua answers that even though a bechor with a blemish can be eaten by all, nonetheless there is an obligation to give the animal to a kohen and the kohen can allow everyone to partake in the bechor.

The Rambam in Hilchos Bechoros (1:3) writes that a bechor with a blemish is given to a kohen. It is evident that this would be included in the mitzva of matnos kehuna.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 26 - Broken yet complete

The Gemara discusses examining a bechor for a permanent blemish on Yom Tov. It is noteworthy that just like one has to examine a bechor for a blemish, one is required to examine himself at all times for any blemish that would technically render him unfit for serving HaShem. It is aid that HaShem desires the one who is broken-hearted. How can one be broken-hearted yet simultaneously be in a state of perfection that allows him to serve HaShem? The answer is that when one is contrite and recognizes his unworthiness., this is the perfection that HaShem is seeking, and it is truly the broken-hearted person who can serve HaShem with pure faith.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 26 - Rendering on Yom Tov

The Gemora cites an opinion that maintains that an expert is not permitted to look and examine blemishes on Yom Tov. A first-born animal can only be slaughtered if it has been determined that there is a blemish and it is indeed permanent. There are several different reasons cited for this prohibition.

Rashi explains that it is prohibited to pass judgement on Yom Tov since it is the expert's declaration that enables one to eat from this animal. This would be considered making something usable on Yom Tov, which is generally forbidden. The commentators explain that this would be different than a regular decision rendered by a posek since in most cases, the posek is only clarifying something whcih we did not know before. He is not changing its status. In contrast, a bechor which is shechted prior to the experts examination is forbidden to eat even if it was subsequently determined that the animal had a blemish. It is evident that the expert's decision is making this animal usable and therefore he is prohibited from rendering such a decision on Yom Tov.

Tosfos adds that since the halacha is that one is not permitted to examine the animal, the animal becomes muktza since the owner concludes that he will not be able to use this animal, which strengthens the prohibition against examining tha animal to determine if it has a blemish or not.

The Rambam in Hilchos Yom Tov (2:3) explains that the Sages decreed that one cannot examine an animal where a blemish occured prior to Yom Tov since this will lead to people examining animals where the blemish occured on Yom Tov. Obviously if by the arrival of Yom Tov, there was no apparent blemish, the animal is deemed to be muktza since it was not prepared from before Yom Tov.

The Magid Mishna explains that we are concerned that the expert will rule that the blemish is not permanent and therefore it cannot be shechted. This will result in the fact that retroactively, the animal was handled unnecessarily on Yom Tov.

The Taz (498:9) asks that according to the Magid Mishna, all rulings should be forbidden on Yom Tov for perhaps the Rav will rule that the chicken, chollent etc. is forbidden and retroactively the object in question was handled unnecessarily?

He answers that the Magid Mishna is only referring to a case similar to bechor where there was never a status quo of heter beforehand and the issur began even as early as birth (a bechor becomes holy by peter rechem - opening of the womb).

A comparable case would be when a liquid issur fell into other liquid and there is not in the mixture enough to negate the issur and then more permissible liquid fell in and perhaps there is enough now to negate the issur. A posek cannot render a decision on this shaila because there was a time that the mixture was forbidden to eat.

The Machtzis Hashekel comments that according to Rashi, a posek can rule on this issue. Only by a bechor where the permission is dependent on the expert and not on the factual basis is where a posek cannot rule on Yom Tov.

The Meiri states this distinction explicitly. When there is a question if an animal is a treifa or not, all we need is a clarification. If one knows that it is not a treifa, the animal is permitted. A rav can rule on a treifa issue on Yom Tov since he is only clarifying. Ruling on a bechor if it has a blemish and if it is permanent is not dependent on the facts, rather on the declaration of the expert. One cannot issue such a ruling on Yom Tov.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 25 - A fiery Torah

The Gemara states that HaShem gave the Jewish People the Torah because they are strong-willed and by studying the Torah, they will become subdued and their hearts will be humbled. The Gemara in Kiddushin states that HaShem said, “I created the Evil Inclination, and I created the Torah as its antidote.” These statements in the Gemara indicate that HaShem only gave the Jewish People the Torah to subdue their strong will and the Evil Inclination. Yet, the Gemara in Pesachim states that one of the seven things that were created prior to the creation of the world was Torah, and the Medrash states that HaShem looked into the Torah in order to create the world. How, then, could the Gemara state that HaShem only gave the Jewish People the Torah to subdue their will and the Evil Inclination? Perhaps the answer to this question is that the Gemara here refers to the fire that is contained in the Torah. If the Jewish People were not strong-willed, then HaShem would not have had to incorporate the fiery aspect in the Torah. Due to the strong-will of the Jewish People, HaShem created a fiery Torah, which could subdue the Evil Inclination and the strong will of the Jewish People.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 25 - The Jewish People are Brazen

[We again thank Kollel Iyun HaDaf - see post below.]

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The Gemara states that the Jewish people are the most brazen of the nations. The attribute of brazenness is the opposite of the attribute of Bushah (bashfulness, humility). The Gemara in Yevamos (79a) teaches that David ha'Melech ruled that the Nesinim were not fit to marry into the Jewish people because they did not demonstrate the three signs characteristic of the Jewish people, who are "Rachmanim, Baishanim, v'Gomlei Chasadim" (merciful, bashful, and bestowers of kindness).

The MAHARAL (Nesiv ha'Bushah 1) explains that the Jewish people inherited these three natural characteristics from the Avos (see also Beitzah 32b). The attribute of Gomlei Chasadim comes from Avraham Avinu, who excelled in the Midah of Chesed (Bereishis 18:19). They inherited mercifulness from Yakov Avinu who said to his sons, "May Hash-m give you mercy" (Bereishis 43:14). (Yakov Avinu asked Hash-m to grant his descendants mercy in the eyes of others in return for Yakov's own exemplary Midah of Rachamim. Yakov's mercy is also demonstrated in the description of the way he tended the flocks of Lavan, Bereishis 31:38-40.)

They inherited the trait of Bushah from Yitzchak Avinu, whose unique trait was Yir'ah, fear (Bereishis 31:42), from which Bushah derives (Yevamos 79a; see Insights to Yevamos 79:1).

Why does the Gemara here say that the natural tendency of the Jewish people is the attribute of brazenness, while the Gemara in Yevamos says that the natural tendency of the Jewish people is Bushah? (MAHARAL ibid.)

ANSWER: The MAHARAL explains that there are two types of Bushah. One type comes from a person's lack of motivation and assertiveness. This type of Bushah manifests itself in one who is easily discouraged from taking any initiative because of his shame.

The other type of Bushah is the feeling which one experiences when he realizes that someone else is greater than he, and he thus submits himself to that person.

The Jewish people are brazen with regard to the first type of Bushah, which they entirely lack. The Jewish people have a great degree of initiative and assertiveness. They are always spirited, creative, and innovative.

With regard to the other type of Bushah, however, the Jewish people excel, for they submit themselves to Hash-m and recognize that they are nothing in front of Him. It is in that sense that they are Baishanim (the positive type of Bushah). The Nesinim lacked this positive Bushah and therefore David ha'Melech rejected them. (See, however, the Maharal in NETZACH YISRAEL ch. 14.)

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 25 - A Dog is the most Brazen

I was in the process of writing on this Daf when my computer began (continued) crashing all too frequently. I bought a new one and am in the process of acclamating myself to it. I noticed two interesting discussions by Kollel Iyun Hadaf and I bring them to you here. Once again, if you're ever looking for a good discussion or insightful answer on a Daf related issue, please visit them here.

QUESTION: The Gemara says that the dog is the most brazen of all wild animals. However, the Mishnah in Avos (5:20) says that a person should be as brazen as a leopard to do the will of Hash-m. If the Mishnah's intent is to emphasize how brazen one must be in the service of Hash-m, why does it use the leopard as an example and not the dog? Conversely, if the leopard is the most brazen of animals, why does the Gemara here not mention it? (BEN YEHOYADA)

ANSWER: The BEN YEHOYADA answers, based on the BARTENURA in Avos, that the reason a leopard ("Namer") is so brazen is because it is the product of the union between a lioness and a wild boar. As a Mamzer, a product of inappropriate cross-mating, it is particularly brazen, for brazenness is a common trait of Mamzerim (see Bava Basra 58a, Maseches Kalah ch. 1). Any animal that is a Mamzer has that trait, but all leopards have that trait because they are all Mamzerim, and that is why the Mishnah mentions the leopard as an example of how brazen one should be in serving Hash-m. The Gemara here, however, discusses animals which are naturally endowed with the characteristic of brazenness and not animals which are brazen as a result of their pedigree.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitzah 24- I run away from You, to You

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 24 - A Doubt on the Preparation

The Gemara explains the Mishna as follows: If there is an object that there is a doubt whether it was sufficiently prepared from before Yom Tov, the object will be prohibited. Rabban Gamliel, however, disagrees and permits them.

The reason that an item that is not prepared prior to Yom Tov is prohibited is because of muktzeh. This is difficult, however, because muktzeh is only rabbinically prohibited, so a case of doubt should also be permitted, as there is a principle that safek derabannan lekula, an uncertainty regarding a rabbinical prohibition is judged leniently?

One answer that is suggested is that the prohibition of muktzeh can be derived from a verse in the Torah that states veheichinu, and they shall prepare. Thus, muktzeh can be viewed as a biblical prohibition and regarding an uncertainty we will rule stringently.

Tosfos Yeshanim on Daf 3b writes that even if muktzeh is not biblically prohibited, the Chachamim treated muktzeh as if it would be biblically prohibited and therefore we rule strictly even in a case of uncertainty.

The Meiri answers that muktzeh is a dovor sheyeish lo matirin', a matter that will be permitted after Yom Tov, so we will rule stringently even in a case of uncertainty.

The Shaar Hatziyon (497:10) writes, based on the Meiri, that if the fish were most likely to spoil if we would wait until after Yom Tov, we can rule leniently and allow one to eat the fish, although this is a case of safek muktzeh, a possibility of the fish being muktzeh.. Shaar HaTziyun does not conclude that this is the halacha, because there are other factors that necessitate a stringent ruling, such as the fact that muktzeh is akin to a biblical prohibition, and for this reason, even if the fish were to spoil, one cannot eat them, unless the fish spoiling will be a complete loss.

Please look here for further discussion regarding muktza.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 24 - Posek Changing his Mind

The Mishna states that there was an incident where a gentile brought a fish to Rabban Gamliel on Yom Tov and Rabban Gamliel ruled that the fish are permitted for use but Rabban Gamliel did not wish to accept the gift from the gentile. The Gemara discusses the reason why Rabban Gamliel permitted the fish for use.

Rav maintains that it was permitted to accept the fish and to handle the fish but the fish were not permitted for consumption. Levi disagrees and maintains that the fish were permitted for consumption.

Rav stated further that a person should not leave the Beis Medrash, even for a moment. Rav related that both he and Levi were in the Beis Medrash when Rebbi ruled on this matter. In the evening Rebbi ruled that it was permitted to eat the fish according to Rabban Gamliel. In the morning, however, Rebbi retracted his ruling and he ruled that one could handle the fish but they could not be eaten. Levi was only in the Beis Medrash in the evening but not in the morning and therefore he did not hear Rebbe's retraction.

Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha cites a similar Gemora in Shabbos (136b) where Ravina quotes Rava retracting his ruling the next morning.

The Noda BiYehudah writes that if a posek rules on a halachic inquiry and his ruling is accepted, the ruling has the effect of two witnesses in court. If one were to claim that the posek retracted his decision, he would not be believed as it is akin to the word of one witness against two witnesses.

Based on his premise, one must wonder how Rav was believed to state that Rebbi retracted his decision in the morning.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 24 - Halacha is not like Rabban Gamliel

The Gemora explains the Mishna as follows: An object which there is a doubt if it was sufficiently prepared from before Yom Tov is prohibited. Rabban Gamliel disagrees and permits them. The Mishna relates that there was an instance where a Gentile brought fish to Rabban Gamliel on Yom Tov and he stated that the fish are permitted but he did not wish to accept the gift from the Gentile. Rashi states that the Gentile was an enemy of Rabban Gamliel. Rav Yehuda rules in the name of Shmuel that the halacha is not in accordance with Rabban Gamliel.

Why did the Gemora have to explicitly rule against Rabban Gamliel, isn't the rule that when an individual argues with the Chachamim, the halacha is always according to the Chachamim?

Pnei Yehoshua and Reshash both answer that perhaps one would have thought that since Rabban Gamliel ruled for everyone according to his opinion, it should be considered a 'maaseh Rav' and the halacha should be according to Rabban Gamliel. The Gemora concludes that this is not the case and the halacha is in accordance with the Chachamim.

Rav Menachem Kohn Zt"l in his sefer Ateres Avi explains based on this as to why the Gemora states the halacha is not in accordance with Rabban Gamliel. It should have said, the halacha is in accordance with the Chachamim. Since the novelty is that we do not rule in accordance with Rabban Gamliel even though it was a 'maaseh Rav', the Gemora specifically states that the halacha is not according to him.

I am curious as to what the rules of 'maaseh Rav' are and if they would apply in this case when Rabban Gamliel did not actually eat from the fish. If anyone should have any information on this, please let us know - thanks.

Look at the Sefer Ateres Avi where he cites another explanation from Rabbi Mordechai Nadoff as to why the Gemora states the halacha is not in accordance with Rabban Gamliel and not that the halacha is in accordance with the Chachamim.

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Daf Yomi - Beitzah 23 - Give me knowledge or give me death

The Gemara states that Rabbi Yose said that Todos of Rome instituted that the Jews of Rome should eat a whole goat that was roasted along with its entrails on Pesach night. The Chachamim sent Todos a message, saying, “If you were not a great scholar and respected personage in the community, we would have excommunicated you because you are causing Jews to eat kodashim, sacrificial meat, outside of Jerusalem.” Why does the Gemara not record a response from Todos, if he was in violation of the words of the Chachamim? Perhaps we see from here the precept that one who violates the words of the Chachamim is liable the death penalty. In a figurative sense, we can suggest that this refers to the statement in the Gemara that wherever the Chachamim set their eyes, there was either poverty or death. We know that a pauper is akin to being dead. Thus, if the Chachamim were to set their eyes on someone, he would either be poor or dead. The Gemara also states that the true pauper is in knowledge, so if the Chachamim sent Todos a message informing him of his error, they rendered him a pauper in knowledge, and this was sufficient for Todos to understand his error and retract his position.

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Daf Yomi - Beitza 23 - Smoking on Yom Tov

Please make sure you scroll down to the comments as people are linking to very interesting articles - Halachically and health related.

UPDATE : Many people have mentioned that the number one issue should be second hand smoke - now that it has been proven that this is extremely dangerous. Here is a ruling issued by the Tzitz Eliezer.

"...וכמו כן כשמעשנים במקומות ציבוריים יכול שפיר כל אחד ואחד מהנמצאים שם החושש מזה לפיגוע בבריאותו, למחות בידי המעשנים שלא יעשנו"23.

When one is smoking in a public place, anyone in the vicinity who is concerned about his personal health can protest and demand that the person should not smoke in the area.

HaRav Moshe Feinstein Zt"l writes sharp words for those who smoke in a Beis Medrash, Yeshiva or kollel building.

(דברים חריפים יותר על חומרת איסור העישון בבית המדרש בישיבות ובכוללים, כתב הגר"מ פיינשטיין שליט"א, ראה צילום מכתבו להלן עמ' 251-248.

Please read this introduction again from the Kollel Iyun Hadaf: Most contemporary authorities state that there is no allowance to smoke at all, even on an ordinary weekday, due to the established and documented health hazards which the effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke pose to the smoker and to those around him.

I have recently been asked during the Daf Yomi shiur a few times regarding smoking on Yom Tov. Does the principle of 'mitoch' apply? Is it a 'dovor hashaveh lechal nefesh'? If it's unhealthy for the lungs, can the logic of calming the digestive system outweigh the health factors? There are many issues. Kollel Iyun Hadaf has done extensive research on this topic and I copy it here for you. Please visit their site often as there is a wealth of information there.

Kollel Iyun Hadaf

OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses the act of placing incense on coals on Yom Tov, which involves the Melachos of kindling and extinguishing. The Gemara's discussion is relevant to a debate among the Acharonim with regard to the question of whether or not one is permitted to use cigarettes on Yom Tov.

Most contemporary authorities state that there is no allowance to smoke at all, even on an ordinary weekday, due to the established and documented health hazards which the effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke pose to the smoker and to those around him. Nevertheless, according to those who do permit a Jew to smoke, may one smoke on Yom Tov? (This discussion is a summary of the issues involved and is not intended as a Halachic ruling.)

There are four major issues involved with smoking on Yom Tov.

(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 514:4) cites the KENESES HA'GEDOLAH who prohibits smoking on Yom Tov because it involves the Melachah of Mechabeh, extinguishing.

In a lengthy Teshuvah, the DARCHEI NO'AM (#9) asks that the act of smoking appears to involve no act of Mechabeh, but rather an act of Hav'arah (burning). Any conceivable form of Mechabeh involved (such as diminishing the fire by squeezing the cigarette) would be a "Davar she'Eino Miskaven" and not a "Pesik Reishei," and thus should be permitted.

(b) The MAGEN AVRAHAM proposes a more basic reason to ban smoking on Yom Tov. Even if it does not involve Mechabeh but only Hav'arah, and Hav'arah is permitted on Yom Tov because of the principle of "Mitoch," the principle of "Mitoch" permits only an act which is "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh," which everyone enjoys. Smoking is certainly not something which everyone enjoys.

However, the PNEI YEHOSHUA (Shabbos 39b, DH v'Omer) and RAV YONASAN EIBESHITZ (in BINAH L'ITIM, Hilchos Yom Tov 4:6) write that this reason is not enough to prohibit smoking on Yom Tov. TOSFOS in Shabbos (39b, DH u'Veis Hillel) discusses whether one may enter a bathhouse to sweat on Yom Tov. He writes that although the act of washing the entire body is not "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" and is therefore prohibited (see Tosfos to Beitzah 21b, DH Lo), nevertheless sweating is permitted because it is for the sake of maintaining one's health (Refu'ah) and not for pleasure. Similarly, the medicinal properties of nicotine may be grounds to permit smoking.

HAGA'ON RAV YISRAEL ZEV GUSTMAN zt'l was asked if this argument is valid grounds to permit smoking on Yom Tov today, when the dangerous effects of smoking have been proven beyond any doubt. Rav Gustman answered that any person who smokes convinces himself that it is beneficial for him. The issue of whether an activity is considered one that merely provides pleasure or one that provides health benefits does not depend on whether or not the activity is objectively healthy, but whether the person himself does it for pleasure (in which case it is not "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" and is forbidden on Yom Tov), or for the perceived positive chemical effects that it has on his body. One who smokes presumably does so for the artificial calming effect of the nicotine. In that respect it could be considered "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh," because with regard to acts of Refu'ah what matters is the ultimate effect and not what causes that effect, as the KESAV SOFER explains (Teshuvos OC #64). Since everyone appreciates the sense of being relaxed, any act which provides relaxing effects is considered to be "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh."

The KORBAN NESANEL (Beitzah 2:22:10) cited by the BI'UR HALACHAH (511:4) mentions another rational to consider smoking an act which is "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh." Since many people, and not merely a few, have the practice to smoke, the act can be considered "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh." The Bi'ur Halachah adds that this obviously applies only in a place where smoking is the accepted cultural norm and most people smoke.

The KORBAN NESANEL himself, however, prohibits smoking on Yom Tov. The fact that in a certain place most people smoke does not make the act "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh," because smoking is harmful to those who are not accustomed to it. Lighting the "Mugmar" and washing one's entire body are also things that many people do and are still considered things which are not "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" since some people do not appreciate such "pleasures." The PNEI YEHOSHUA (Shabbos 39b) also presents this argument.

(c) The PRI MEGADIM (OC 511) points out that an additional problem is involved when there is printing or letters on the outside of the cigarette wrapper, and by smoking one destroys those letters and transgresses the Melachah of Mochek (erasing). Because of this concern, some people who smoke on Yom Tov do not finish the cigarette when it burns down to the letters, but they let it burn by itself so that they should not transgress the Melachah of Mochek.

RAV HILLEL RUVEL shlit'a pointed out that this practice does not circumvent the problem of Mochek according to the NIMUKEI YOSEF in Bava Kama (22a). The Nimukei Yosef rules that when one lights a fire, he is considered to have burned everything that will eventually be burned by the fire. When Rav Ruvel brought this issue to the attention of Rav Gustman zt'l, Rav Gustman said that those who act leniently may rely on the OR SAME'ACH (Hilchos Shabbos 23:2) who says that one who burns a book on Yom Tov is not liable for the Melachah of Mochek, because Mochek involves taking away the words and not the entire paper.

(d) The KORBAN NESANEL (loc. cit.) writes that even if no Isur d'Oraisa forbids smoking on Yom Tov, it is almost impossible for one who smokes on Yom Tov to avoid transgressing Isurei d'Oraisa, such as Hav'arah when he attempts to light the pipe, cigar, or cigarette, or when he adds or removes tobacco from a pipe, or when he taps the ashes off of a cigarette. (This may be the intention of the Keneses ha'Gedolah cited in (a) above.)

Other Acharonim (BIRKEI YOSEF OC 511) write that this reason cannot be used as grounds for prohibiting smoking on Yom Tov, because it is accepted that the sages today do not enact new Gezeiros. Since this reason entails making a Gezeirah (that one may not smoke lest he transgress an Isur d'Oraisa), today's sages cannot enact a rabbinical prohibition to prohibit smoking on Yom Tov in order to prevent one from transgressing Isurei d'Oraisa.

HALACHAH: The KORBAN NESANEL concludes in very strong terms that one who smokes on Yom Tov acts reprehensibly, and "one who wants to honor Hash-m and his Torah should refrain from smoking for just one or two days (Yom Tov), even though his Yetzer ha'Ra might suggest ways to permit it based on the Shas."

However, most Acharonim (as cited by the BI'UR HALACHAH loc. cit.) rule that in a city where most of the people smoke, the act of smoking can be considered "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" and thus one may smoke on Yom Tov. RAV MOSHE STERNBUCH shlit'a points out that nowadays, since even in places where people smoke they know that it is harmful to their health, and since in more and more places smoking is looked upon disapprovingly, it is very difficult to rely on these reasons to permit smoking on Yom Tov.

When asked by Kollel Iyun Hadaf whether smoking is permitted on Yom Tov, HAGA'ON RAV CHAIM PINCHAS SHEINBERG shlit'a said that it is certainly not considered an act which is "Shaveh l'Chol Nefesh" and thus it is forbidden on Yom Tov.

Rav Sheinberg added that it has been proven that smoking is hazardous to one's health, and therefore smoking is never permitted, even on an ordinary weekday. (Regarding those who already smoke and who suffer from nicotine addiction, see IGROS MOSHE YD 2:49, and TESHUVOS V'HANGAHOS 1:316.)

Another interesting question raised by the Acharonim is whether one who maintains that smoking is forbidden on Yom Tov may light a cigarette for someone who is lenient. The KESAV SOFER (ibid.), based on the SHA'AR HA'MELECH (Hilchos Ishus 7:12), writes that if one person maintains that a certain practice is prohibited and he helps another person, who maintains that the practice is permitted, to do that act, he transgresses the prohibition of "Lifnei Iver." Therefore, one who maintains that smoking is prohibited may not help another person smoke on Yom Tov, and he must treat cigarettes and other smoking implements as Muktzah. However, the Kesav Sofer adds, if he maintains that the Halachah permits smoking but he personally is stringent and does not smoke, then he may light a cigarette for someone else who smokes.

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