Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Beitza 31 a, b

A Mishna teaches that we can use wood that has been put aside as kindling before the start of the Festival.  If that wood is in a field or in a karpef, a storehouse, we are permitted to use it as kindling.  What is a karpef, ask the rabbis?  Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai disagree, of course, about what is permitted when it comes to wood that is lying around in a field and wood in a karpef.  Other rabbis argue as well: are we speaking about a karpef that is inside the Shabbat limit?  Is there a key to this karpef? Or is it just a shed?  And is it close to a city?  How do we define "close"?

A second Mishna: we cannot chop beams designated for construction nor can we chop from fallen beams on a Festival.  If we do cut wood, we cannot use weekday tools; we must use a cleaver.  The rabbis wonder why we might be able to cut wood at all on a Festival.  They consider using the 'female' instead of the 'male' side of a cleaver or an ax.  

A final Mishna for today: if a house is filled with produce and there is a hole in one wall of that house, it is permitted to reach in and take the produce.  The rabbis use this Mishna to understand a number of guidelines for the Festivals.  For example, the produce is not muktze, set aside, even though we can hardly see it through this hole.  They think about the doors to such a structure, which might be tied to the ground with ropes and knots. They consider the construction/dismantling of a home made of different substances.  We learn that on Festivals, but not on Shabbat, we are permitted to create that hole ourselves.  Similarly, we can cut and untie/unwind ropes and knots on Festivals but not on Shabbat.

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