Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The Gemora cites a braisa which expounds on a verse in Vayikra (26:4) which states “I will give your rains in their time.” The blessing described here is that the earth will not be drunk (overly drenched) with rain, nor will it be thirsty; rather it will be reasonably wet. Excessive rain makes the earth muddy and it will not be able to produce fruit.

An alternative explanation is that the “proper time” is referring to Tuesday and Friday nights. Generally, people are not outside on these nights and therefore the rains will not be a nuisance to them.

Rashi explains that people do not generally walk outside on these nights because there is a demon Igras bas Machlas who causes damage then.

The Ibn Ezra (Shmos 20:13) explains why it is that this demon comes out and haunts on these particular nights.

In the Teshuvos Az Nidb’ru, he rules that it is improper to go touring or to venture out for a walk on Friday night. He states that it is desecrating the Shabbos and can be extremely harmful. Shabbos is a day that is given to us to busy ourselves with Torah and Yiras Shamayim.

He cites the Medrash in Eichah that the reason a certain city was destroyed was because they played ball on Shabbos. He asks that playing ball on Shabbos is only a Rabbinical injunction lest one might level the holes in the ground. Why was this prohibition treated so severely? He answers that it wasn’t the particular sin that caused the tragedy, rather it was that they were treating Shabbos as if it was a regular day of the week. They were acting like the gentiles. He concludes that taking extended walks on Shabbos is precisely the opposite of what Shabbos was intended for.

The Ben Ish Chai writes that even though an outing on Shabbos is enjoyable, nevertheless one will be judged regarding this in the future. If someone would approach in middle of your business to join him in an outing, you will obviously refuse even though you know it will provide pleasure, so too, the Shabbos was given to be utilized for spiritual pleasure by studying Torah and not to venture outside, which will not lead to any positive spiritual outcome.

However, the Rama (301:2) rules that it is permitted to take walks on Shabbos. The Rama even rules that it is regarded as a mitzva and one would be permitted to make an eruv techumin (which is only permitted for a mitzva) allowing him to walk outside of his two thousand amos boundary. Tosfos Shabbos disagrees and maintains that only on Yom Tov would it be permitted to make an eruv techumin for the sake of taking an extended walk but on Shabbos, it is prohibited because walking is not considered a mitzva.