- Rabbi Ally Ehrman
- Duration: 33 min
לזכות אבי מורי ואמי מורתי שיחיו
The pasuk says in Parshas Ki Tisa [Shmos 31-13]:
וְאַתָּ֞ה דַּבֵּ֨ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר אַ֥ךְ אֶת־שַׁבְּתֹתַ֖י תִּשְׁמֹ֑רוּ כִּי֩ א֨וֹת הִ֜וא בֵּינִ֤י וּבֵֽינֵיכֶם֙ לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם לָדַ֕עַת כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה מְקַדִּשְׁכֶֽם׃
“Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, ‘But nevertheless you shall keep my Shabossos: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am Hashem who sanctifies you".
אך את שבתותי תשמרו – אף על פי שתהיו רדופין בזריזות המלאכה, שבת אל תדחה מפניה. כל אכין ורקין מיעוטין הן, למעט שבת ממלאכת המשכן.
BUT NEVERTHELESS YOU SHALL KEEP MY SHABOSSOS – Even though you be anxious and alert to do the work promptly, nevertheless you must not set aside Shabbos on its account. The words אך and רק wherever they occur in Tanach have limitative force (Rosh Hashanah 17b; cf. Rashi on Rosh Hashanah 17b on אכין ורקין). Here Scripture intends by the word אך to exclude the Shabbos from the days on which the work of the Mishkan may be done.
The Ramban asks:
ולא נתכון אצלי, כי לפי מדרש רבותינו באכין ורקין ימעט בשמירת השבת, כי המיעוטים אצלם בכל מקום ימעטו בדבר המצווה בו, ואם תדרוש המיעוט בענין מלאכת המשכן יהיה מותר לעשותה בשבת.
The exclusion is written in the context of Shabbos not the Mishkan. So if Rashi is correct that the word אך is exclusionary and relating to the Mishkan, then it should be excluding Shabbos from its normal איסורים when it comes to the Mishkan and it is thus PERMITTED to build the Mishkan on Shabbos [and not as Rashi says that it is forbidden to build the Mishkan on Shabbos]!
The Ramban continues:
אבל המיעוט הזה למילה או לפקוח נפש וכיוצא בהן שהן דוחין את השבת. [וכך אמרו במסכת יומא: ומנין שספק נפשות דוחה שבת, רבי אבהו אמר רבי יוחנן אך את שבתותי תשמורו, מיעוט (ירושלמי יומא ח׳:ה׳).]
The exclusion is that one may perform Bris Milah on Shabbos and that one may violate Shabbos to save a life - פיקוח נפש. He proves this from the Gemara in Yoma [פ"ה], the Yerushalmi and Tosefta [שבת פרק ט"ו] that derives from אך that one is allowed one to violate Shabbos for פיקוח נפש. So Shabbos is excluded when it comes to פיקוח נפש.
We have to answer the Ramban's question on Rashi especially in light of the Yerushalmi that bears out the Ramban's interpretation - and not Rashi's!
We also have to answer another question: Rashi later [Vayakhel 35-2] writes that the Parsha of Shabbos is juxtaposed to the Melachos of the Mishkan to teach us that the building of the Mishkan doesn't override Shabbos. But we ALREADY HAVE a source that the building of the Mishkan doesn't override Shabbos [earlier in Ki Tisa that we quoted]. Why then according to the Rashi does the Torah have to teach us what we already know?? It must be then that the word "אך" is telling us that פיקוח נפש overrides Shabbos and the אך is exclusionary vis a vis Shabbos, as the Ramban explains.
Whether we accept Rashi's interpretation or that of the Ramban, we have to deal with the question of the Aruch La-Ner [Yevamos 6a]: The Gemara says that the building of the Beis Hamikdash doesn't override Shabbos from the pasuk "ומקדשי תיראו אני השם". But we already have a source or even two sources for this law: 1] From "אך" in parshas Ki Tisa [according to Rashi]. 2] From the juxtaposition of Shabbos and the Mishkan at the beginning of Vaykhel.
The Aruch La-ner further asked that from the sugya we learn that even without a pasuk we would know that the building doesn't override Shabbos because an עשה [like building the Mishkan] does not override a לא תעשה that has כרת [like Shabbos] and the pasuk is only needed for the לאו of מחמר [see there]. Why then do we need the psukim in Ki Tisa to teach that building the Mishkan doesn't override Shabbos? An עשה doesn't overrride a לא תעשה that has כרת even without a pasuk to that effect?? See the Torah Shleima [אות ל"ד] that the Rishonim already asked this question,
In the Tosefta [Shabbos 16 that we alluded to in the previous post] Rav Yosi excludes from the word "אך" that פיקוח נפש, מילה and עבודה in the Beis Hamikdash override Shabbos. The Chasdei Dovid there asks that we derive that מילה and עבודה override Shabbos from other psukim as we see in the Gemara [עבודה from "במועדו" and מילה from "ביום השמיני"]. So how does the Tosefta exclude עבודה and מילה from the word "אך"? He also asked how it is possible to derive three different halachos from one word??
We have to understand the pasuk that says that says "ואתה דבר אל בני ישראל" - And YOU speak to the sons of Israel. What is the emphasis "ואתה" - "And you". We also have to understand what it means when it says "ואתה דבר אל בני ישראל לאמור" - normally "לאמור" means to tell others but here the commandment is to each and every Jew about Shabbos, so who are they supposed to tell further??
[See the Ohr Hachaim and others].
Says the Gemara [Shabbos 10b]:
ואמר רבא בר מחסיא אמר רב חמא בר גוריא אמר רב הנותן מתנה לחבירו צריך להודיעו שנאמר לדעת כי אני ה׳ מקדשכם תניא נמי הכי לדעת כי אני ה׳ מקדשכם אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה מתנה טובה יש לי בבית גנזי ושבת שמה ואני מבקש ליתנה לישראל לך והודיעם מכאן אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל הנותן פת לתינוק צריך להודיע לאמו מאי עביד ליה אמר אביי שאיף ליה משחא ומלי ליה כוחלא והאידנא דחיישינן לכשפים מאי אמר רב פפא שאיף ליה מאותו המין
Rava bar Mechasseya said that Rav Chama bar Gurya said that Rav said: One who gives a gift to another must inform him that he is giving it to him. As it is stated: “Only keep My Shabbasos for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations to know that I am God Who sanctifies you”(Exodus 31:13). When the Holy One, Blessed be He, gave Shabbos to Israel, He told Moshe to inform them about it. That was also taught in a braisa: The verse states: “For I am God Who sanctifies you,” meaning that the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moshe: I have a good gift in My treasure house and Shabbos is its name, and I seek to give it to Israel. Go inform them about it. From here Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: One who gives a gift of bread to a child needs to inform his mother that he gave it to him. The Gemara asks: What does he do to the child, so that his mother will know that he gave him a gift? Abaye said: He should smear him with oil or place blue shadow around his eye in an obvious manner. When the mother of the child notices and asks him about it, he will tell her that so-and-so gave him a piece of bread. The Gemara asks: And now that we are concerned about witchcraft involving oil or eye shadow, what should one who gives a gift do? Rav Pappa said: He should smear him with food of the same type that he gave him to eat.
איני והאמר רב חמא (בר) חנינא הנותן מתנה לחבירו אין צריך להודיעו שנאמר ומשה לא ידע כי קרן עור פניו בדברו אתו לא קשיא הא במילתא דעבידא לאגלויי הא במילתא דלא עבידא לאגלויי והא שבת דעבידא לגלויי מתן שכרה לא עביד לגלויי
With regard to the halacha itself, the Gemara asks: Is that so? Didn’t Rav Chama bar Chanina say: One who gives a gift to his friend need not inform him, as God made Moshes’ face glow, and nevertheless it is stated with regard to Moshe: “And Moshe did not know that the skin of his face shone when He spoke with him” (Exodus 34:29)? The Gemara answers: This is not difficult. When Rav Ḥama bar Chanina said that he need not inform him, he was referring to a matter that is likely to be revealed. When Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said that he needs to inform him, he was referring to a matter that is not likely to be revealed. The Gemara asked: If so, isn’t Shabbos likely to be revealed, as it will be necessary to inform them of Shabbos together with the other mitzvot? Why was Moshe asked to inform them about Shabbos separately? The Gemara answers: The giving of its reward is not likely to be revealed, and it was necessary to inform them about so extraordinary a gift.
We have to understand this Gemara. Why does it say that the reward of SHABBOS is not known implying that the reward of other mitzvos is known when the reality is that the reward of all mitzvos is not known??! Yet, we don't find about other mitzvos "לך והודיעם" - to go and tell them. It says in Pirkei Avos [2-1] that we don't know the reward of mitzvos, so how is Shabbos different that Moshe was commanded to tell them about the reward? [See Maharsha in Mahadura Basra and Iyun Yaakov who allude to this].
The answer is [alluded to by the Ohr Hachaim and see also the Malbim] based on the Mechilta on the pasuk "כי אני ה' מקדשכם" - "to know that I Hashem sanctify you". This refers, says the Mechilta, to Olam Haba which can be tasted in Shabbos in this world. We thus learn that the Kedusha of Shabbos is similar to the Kedusha of Olam Haba. So too the pasuk says "מזמור שיר ליום השבת - לעולם שכולו שבת". Our Shabbos is like the eternal Shabbos. End quote from Mechilta. See Torah Shleima [אות מ"ג] for numerous sources that Shabbos is מעין עולם הבא. THAT is what the Gemara means when it says "מתנה טובה יש לי בבית גנזי - I have a good gift in my treasure house" - "treasure house" refers to Olam Haba because Shabbos is not from this world but from the next.
See the Maharsha in Shabbos who asked about the hava amina of the Gemara that the discussion is about Shabbos itself and not the reward. According to that, what does "בית גנזי" mean? See there where he says that the work of the six days is included in the curse of Adam Harishon "בעצבון תאכלנה" and therefore עכו"ם ששבת חייב מיתה. THAT is the בית גנזי before the sin of Adam when he had rest all 6 days. This is like we said that the matter of resting on Shabbos is not relevant to this world and rather comes from Olam Haba and Adam was in the supernal world of Gan Eden. Because of this it is considered "בית גנזי". The same applies to the conclusion that we are talking about reward - מתן שכרה. The reward for other mitzvos is only in the world to come. But Shabbos, even though it comes from Olam Haba, is written in the Torah here. So too, the reward was stated in this world, because Shabbos is when the next world is already given in this world. From this we can learn about the reward in Olam Haba for other mitzvos, as the Mechilta implies. For Shabbos was given as a taste of the next world in this world and from this we can know at least a little about the reward of mitzvos in the next world.
Now we can explain Rashi: Rashi definitely agrees that when it says "אך" it is limiting Shabbos and not the Mishkan as the Ramban asserted and like we see in the Gemara that it is permitting פיקוח נפש on Shabbos. However when the Tosefta says in the name of R' Yosi that from this pasuk we learn that עבודה and מילה override Shabbos it doesn't mean that in this pasuk it says that עבודה and מילה override Shabbos - because we have other psukim for that as we learn elsewhere in the Gemara [as noted by the Chasdei Dovid]. Rather it is telling us that the basis from which we are enabled to derive from other psukim that מילה and עבודה override Shabbos is the word "אך". Because as we explained if not for the fact that it says "אך" we would view Shabbos as being a mitzva that is "outta this world" [i.e. from Olam Haba] and then עבודה and מילה would not be able to override it. The same goes regarding פיקוח נפש. If not for "אך" we would say that it is a mitzva from Olam Haba, an anomaly, and thus there is no exemption even for פיקוח נפש. Only because of "אך" we can limit Shabos and categorize it together with other mitzvos and thus פיקוח נפש takes precedence as do עבודה and מילה.
On the other hand from that very limitation of "אך" it emerges that one may not build the Beis Hamikdash on Shabbos. If not for "אך" one would say that since this melacha beings the שכינה it is permitted on Shabbos because it is not a contradiction for the Olam Haba'esqe Shabbos. But since it remains in the class of regular mitzvos and the rule is that an עשה does not override a לא תעשה that has כרת, the building of the Beis Hamikdash does not override Shabbos.
So Rashi was right that based on the pasuk of "אך" we have a basis to forbid the building of the Beis Hamikdash on Shabbos even though Rashi agrees that the limitation and exclusion relate to Shabbos, as we see from the Gemaras that derive from "אך" that פיקוח נפש, עבודה and מילה override Shabbos.
So Rashi's understading of "אך" is correct and he is also is saved from the questions of the Ramban from the various sugyos!!
But still there would be room to say that the מיעוט of "אך" that was said regarding Shabbos means that we shouldn't be stringent because of the Olam Haba aspect of Shabbos. Through this there is room to override Shabbos with פיקוח נפש, עבודה and מילה. However when it comes to the building of the Beis Hamikdsh on Shabbos, where as far as Shabbos is concerned there is no reason to be stringent [because the Beis Hamikdsh brings the שכינה so the building is not a contradiction to Shabbos] - who says that we can learn from "אך" to be stringent and forbid the building? THAT is why we need the psukim at the beginning of parshas Vaykehel to teach us that the building of the Beis Hamikdash doesn't override Shabbos. But after these psukim it emerges that the word "אך" limits because it is telling us not to view Shabbos in the context of Olam Haba but just in its Olam Hazeh definition and thus to forbid its building on Shabbos. So Rashi was correct in telling us that the word "אך" teaches us this halacha because "אך" is not telling us a practical law but a definition [that Shabbos has an Olam Hazeh and Olam Haba aspect and "אך" limits its application to its Olam Hazeh defintion].
We can also answer the questions of the Aruch La-ner:
The two sources that teach that the building of the Beis Hamikdash doesn't override Shabbos aren't talking about "דיני דחייה" per se, which is the subject of the sugya in Yevamos, but rather whether as far as the ESSENCE of Shabbos we can allow בנין בית המקדש. Even after we prove that as far as the essence of Shabbos goes, one may not build the Beis Hamikdash [because of "אך"] maybe there is still a halacha that the בנין is דוחה שבת. THAT is the topic of the sugya in Yevamos which teaches that it may not [because אין עשה דוחה לא תעשה שיש בו כרת] and the only question is regarding מחמר which is only a לא תעשה without כרת.
[עפ"י תורת מו"ר הגאון הגדול ר' ד"י מן זצ"ל]