Blog Yomi – Kesubos #30/Daf 31

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Most people are familiar with the quote above from the opening words of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but not as familiar with the poem’s title nor the rest of the words. It is titled “The Arrow and the Song”, and its verses are:

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What relevance does this have to our Gemara which begins on דף ל״א עָמוּד א? Come and hear:

הַזּוֹרֵק חֵץ מִתְּחִילַּת אַרְבַּע לְסוֹף אַרְבַּע, וְקָרַע שִׁירָאִין בַּהֲלִיכָתוֹ — פָּטוּר. שֶׁעֲקִירָה צוֹרֶךְ הַנָּחָה הִיא

Someone shot an arrow within the public domain on Shabbos. It fell to the earth after having travelled the requisite four cubits to constitute performing a prohibited labor (מְלָאכָה) for which he is liable to receive a court-imposed death penalty. But there is more: as it soared through the air, the arrow ripped silk as it proceeded. Is this a classic case of קָם לֵיה בְּדְרָבָּה מִינֵיה? You’ll remember from our discussion the other day that this principle is that one would be exempt from the lesser penalty of damages that occurred through his action. in this case ripping the silk, if at the same time his action incurred a greater penalty, int this case death for desecrating Shabbos.

But wait! Didn’t the ripping of the silk occur prior to the completion of the prohibited labor, since the arrow had not yet come to rest? Technically yes, but once he shot the arrow it is considered to be a continuous act until it lands.

The case of the arrow came up because the Gemara was potentially comparing it to the קָם לֵיה בְּדְרָבָּה מִינֵיה situation encountered when a non-כֹּהֵן eats תְּרוּמָה that he stole. But the Gemara rejects this comparison:

הָכִי הַשְׁתָּא?! הָתָם, אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהַנָּחָה בְּלֹא עֲקִירָה. הָכָא, אֶפְשָׁר לַאֲכִילָה בְּלֹא הַגְבָּהָה, דְּאִי בָּעֵי, גָּחֵין וְאָכֵיל. אִי נָמֵי: הָתָם אִי בָּעֵי לְאַהְדּוֹרַהּ — לָא מָצֵי מַהְדַּר לַהּ. הָכָא — מָצֵי מַהְדַּר לַהּ

How can these cases be compared? There, in the case of the arrow, placement is impossible without lifting, as placement without lifting is not a labor prohibited on Shabbos. Therefore, lifting and placement are a single unit. In contrast, here, eating is possible without lifting as, if one wishes, he could bend down and eat without lifting the food to his mouth. Alternatively, there is another difference between the cases: There, in the case of the arrow, even if he seeks to take back the arrow after shooting it, he cannot take it back; therefore, lifting and placement constitute one action. Here, he could replace the fat after lifting it.

Alot of minutiae follow this, discussing what is considered private domain versus public domain, and what is considered lifting versus carrying versus transporting as relates to actions that result in one’s taking possession of something, and how those actions might factor into violating the Laws of Shabbos.

And then into the next stretch of Gemara expounding on the part of the previous Mishnah that keeps hanging around like a dangling participle:

הַבָּא עַל אֲחוֹתוֹ וְעַל אֲחוֹת אָבִיו כּוּ׳. וּרְמִינְהוּ, אֵלּוּ הֵן הַלּוֹקִין: הַבָּא עַל אֲחוֹתוֹ, וְעַל אֲחוֹת אָבִיו, וְעַל אֲחוֹת אִמּוֹ, וְעַל אֲחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ, וְעַל אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו, וְעַל אֵשֶׁת אֲחִי אָבִיו, וְעַל הַנִּדָּה

Our Mishnah stated that one who violates his sister, his father’s sister, (or) his mother’s sister, his wife’s sister, his brother’s wife, his father’s brother’s wife after they divorced, or a menstruating woman, pays a fine (קְנַס). The Gemara here raises an apparent contradiction from a Mishnah in Makkos 13a) which states: And these people are flogged: One who has relations with his sister, (or) his father’s sister, his mother’s sister, his wife’s sister, his brother’s wife, or with his father’s brother’s wife, or with a menstruating woman. Anyone who intentionally has relations with any of these women is punished with מַלְקוֹת (lashes).

The apparent contradiction here is that it violates קָם לֵיה בְּדְרָבָּה מִינֵיה if there is a קְנַס imposed in addition to מַלְקוֹת. As the Gemara says: וְקַיְימָא לַן דְּאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה וּמְשַׁלֵּם

Ulla said, no problem: אָמַר עוּלָּא, לָא קַשְׁיָא: כָּאן בַּאֲחוֹתוֹ נַעֲרָה, כָּאן בַּאֲחוֹתוֹ בּוֹגֶרֶת

When a נַעֲרָה is involved (a girl between the age of 12 years and one day to 12 years and six months), there is a קְנַס but no מַלְקוֹת; when a בּוֹגֶרֶת is involved (a girl older than 12 years and six months) there is מַלְקוֹת but no קְנַס.

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The Gemara continues: אֲחוֹתוֹ בּוֹגֶרֶת נָמֵי, הָא אִיכָּא בּוֹשֶׁת וּפְגָם! בְּשׁוֹטָה. וְהָא אִיכָּא צַעֲרָא! בִּמְפוּתָּה

In the case of one who has relations with his sister who is a grown woman, too, although he does not pay a fine, isn’t there compensation for humiliation and degradation? He should be exempt from lashes in that case as well. The Gemara answers: The halacha in the mishnah is with regard to his sister who is a שׁוֹטָה, with regard to whom there is no humiliation or degradation beyond her status as a שׁוֹטָה. The Gemara asks: But isn’t there payment for pain even in the אוֹנֶס of a שׁוֹטָה? The Gemara responds: The halacha is with regard to a מְפוּתָּה, who is not entitled to payment for pain, as she engaged in relations willingly. The subject of seduction will be elucidated further in the next perek, נַעֲרָה שֶׁנִּתְפַּתְּתָה.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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