Hana'a Haba'a le-Adam Baal Korcho (part 1 of 2) Pesachim perek 2 - 25b

  • Rav Ezra Bick
Sources for this week’s shiur:
Gemara, 25b, "Itmar" to the third line on 26a "... likula lo".
This sugya is notoriously complicated. Before we get to the machloket Rishonim, the gemara itself consists of two lishonot for two Amorayim (Abaye and Rava) concerning two        Tanaim (R. Shimon and R. Yehuda). Needless to say, there are disagreements in the Rishonim as well. I recommend you keep paper and pencil (remember them - from before the PC!) handy to list the different possibilities that unfold.
Shabbat 29b "Reish knishta deBatzra..."
R. David, the whole sugya.


            The gemara introduces a new topic - hana'a she-ba'a le-adam baal korcho. Obviously the term "baal korcho" does not mean totally under duress, for then there would not be anything to talk about. If one was compelled by force to have forbidden hana'a, then what is done is done, and in any event, "oness rachmana patrei" (one is not culpable for actions performed under duress). The gemara divides the case into four:

1. Efshar-mekhaven (YY);

2. LoEfshar-mekhaven (NY);

3. Efshar-LoMekhaven (YN);

4. LoEfshar-LoMekhaven (NN).

(For simplicity in typing, I shall refer to these cases by the initials in parentheses, where the first letter refers to the "efshar" clause, either positive or negative, and the second to the "mekhaven" clause.)

            Rashi, who did not comment on the term "hana'a haba'a le-adam baal korcho," explains the fourfold division by exemplification: "Efshar - he is capable of preventing (his having hana'a), and he intends (mitkaven) to come close in order to have hana'a; for instance, the smell of avoda zara, or if he cannot prevent it but he has intention and it is pleasant for him to have hana'a." From the cases cited on the next page of the gemara, it is evident that "efshar" means one can choose not to have the hana'a and YET ACHIEVE ONE'S GOAL. For instance, if one is traveling from point A to point B (for whatever innocent reason) and there is an idolatrous temple on the road which emits a pleasant smell - if there are two roads that can be used, then the choice of the idolatrous one is "efshar." If there is only one road, then that is considered to be "lo efshar," even though one could also stay at home and not travel to that destination at all. Mekhaven-lo mekhaven, according to Rashi, therefore means that having chosen the road to get to destination B which leads next to the temple, one is not at the same time averse to benefiting from the smell (what Rashi calls, "pleasant for him to have hana'a").

            R. David makes this clear by defining the original phrase "hana'a haba'a le-adam baal korcho" in such a way that even YY is called "baal korcho" (against his will). His problem is to resolve the apparent contradiction between "mekhaven" and "baal korcho." He writes:

            Even if he is mitkaven to have hana'a from the smell, and he also had the opportunity to take an alternative route but he nonetheless takes this one, it is still called "hana'a haba'a lo baal korcho," because he did not come here in order to have hana'a from this smell. Rather, he came here on his way, and the hana'a of the smell came to        him on its own.

            R. David then continues to explain what "mitkaven" means under these circumstances.

            If he is "mitkaven" to the smell NOW, at the time of the hana'a... even though he is not making a special mental effort to obtain the smell and have hana'a from it, but           rather the smell comes to him on its own as he walks along, since the smell is pleasant to him and he intends to have hana'a, it is prohibited.

            His point is clear. Mitkaven means that the obtaining of the hana'a is not intentionally caused by the man. The hana'a "comes on its own." After the fact, however (that is, at the time of the hana'a - NOW), he approves of the hana'a, it is pleasant to him. The phrase "baal korcho" refers to how the hana'a was obtained; the phrase "mitkaven" refers to one's attitude to the hana'a.

            Before explaining the conceptual problem underlying this discussion, we must quickly define the disagreement of R. Yehuda and R. Shimon, which the gemara states is the basis of the disagreement of Abaye and Rava here, in one form or another.

            The two tanaim disagree about "davar she-eino mitkaven." Is it permitted to drag a chair across a courtyard in order to bring it to the other side, where the weight of the chair will cause a furrow to be dug (which is prohibited on Shabbat)? R. Shimon rules that davar she-eino mitkaven is permitted. Since the second, prohibited event was not the intended result of his action, there is no violation of a Shabbat prohibition. R. Yehuda rules that davar she-eino mitkaven is prohibited.

            Let us define the case. There are two events occurring here: 1) A chair is being moved across a courtyard; 2) A furrow is being dug. Both are direct results of the action of the individual. The difference is that his action (the movement of his arm in contact with the chair) was intended by him only to accomplish the first. The question then is, can the second event be used to describe the human action? R. Shimon's answer is that the individual moved the chair, but that the furrow was dug as a result. We do not say that he DUG the furrow. Not every event that is directly caused by a human action is itself the defining aspect of that action. In this case, the tanaim argue whether unintended results define the action. Has he both moved a chair, and dug a furrow, or only moved a chair, with the furrow a RESULT of his action, but not an action in itself? (Obviously, what I mean by "action" here is a legal term. R. Shimon is arguing that without intention, without a directed goal, the results do not relate to the individual in such a way as to define his actions. To give a rather extreme example, if I am driving and extend my arm while idling at an intersection in order to stretch my cramped elbow, I have not "signaled" a left turn, although the car behind me might unfortunately have thought so. Signaling is a particular type of action that cannot take place without intention. I site this example merely to indicate that not every event that can be traced back to the movement of one's arm can properly be called his action.)

            By comparing the case of hana'a to that of actions on Shabbat, we can understand the issue here in Pesachim. At the beginning of the perek, I mentioned that there is a problem how to define the act of hana'a, since HAVING hana'a is not an action, but a state (even though in Hebrew it is characterized grammatically by a perfectly normal verb). R. David states that if one took some course of action designed to obtain hana'a, this is clearly an act of hana'a. Here, the actions he takes (walking in a particular direction) are not designed originally to obtain hana'a. The hana'a comes "on its own" as we walks along. His direct action (like moving a chair) is walking from point A to point B. This is a permitted action. There is another "event" which takes place at the same time, as a result of his primary action. Hana'a is being experienced by him. However, this will not be prohibited unless it can be defined as a case of an ACT of hana'a, and not merely an event involving his body. The question is, what are the conditions necessary to define the secondary event as an action of the individual? This parallels the question in hilkhot Shabbat - what are the conditions necessary to define a secondary event as the action of the individual there? There are two conditions - intention to have hana'a on the way converts this event into an action, and "efshar," the possibility of choosing an alternative path to accomplish the goal of the primary action converts the decision to choose this path in to an action of choosing hana'a.

            The actual structure of the gemara is very complicated, with multiple levels of possibilities. Let us quickly outline the structure.

A. Lishna Kama

            YY -    assur;

            NY -    assur;

                        (In other words, kavana definitely relates the

                        hana'a to the individual as an action)

            NN -    mutar (R. Yehuda will prohibit even in this case,

                        cf. Tosafot);

YN -    According to R. Yehuda, it is assur;

                        According to R. Shimon, Abaye states that it is

                        mutar; Rava states that "efshar" relates the hana'a

                        to the individual even without kavana.

            Getting to the main point of this understanding, Abaye and Rava disagree (according to R. Shimon) whether "efshar" is a relating factor. What is the logic of Rava? Simply - if there are two alternatives which are equal in respect to the primary goal (reaching destination B), the path that leads by the forbidden smell is distinguished automatically by that smell, in relation to the first path, so that a choice to go by the second path is by definition a choice to OBTAIN THE HANA'A of the second path. This is true even though there was no kavana to have hana'a. The action of walking on path B is different than the action of walking on path A, and the defining difference is that there is forbidden smell on path B.

B. Lishna Batra

            YY -    assur;

            YN -    R. Shimon, mutar. R. Yehuda, assur;

            NN -    mutar (even according to R. Yehuda);

NY -    R. Shimon, mutar.

                        According to R. Yehuda, Rava states that it is

                        assur; Abaye states that it is mutar.


            Here the argument is "backwards." We know that R. Yehuda does not require kavana to relate an event to the individual as his action. Is this because he relies exclusively on "efshar" as the relating factor (so that NY is mutar, as kavana is irrelevant), or is EITHER factor sufficient, so that both YN and NY are assur?

            A quick word on halakha lima'ase. Most Rishonim rule like the second lishna, and of course like Rava. The halakha is in any event like R. Shimon. Hence, everything is permitted except for YY. We shall discuss the practical ramifications of this next week in the context of the cases brought in the gemara on the next page as proofs for Rava or Abaye.

            Tosafot (s.v. "lo") raises a crucial problem for the gemara's identification of our sugya with that in Shabbat. The gemara (Shabbat 75a) states that R. Shimon agrees that davar she-lo mitkaven is prohibited in cases of "psik reishei." Using a rather colorful example, if one cuts off the head of a chicken in order to give it to a child to play with, without any intention to kill the chicken, it is assur, since the unintended result is a NECESSARY result of the primary action. Apparently, the necessity substitutes for the intention. Tosafot therefore is forced to conclude that in all the cases in our gemara there is no psik reishei. In the primary case, it is possible that he will walk by the idolatrous temple and not have hana'a at all, and a similar situation must exist for all the cases on 26a-b. Examination of those cases will indicate that it is extremely difficult to explain all those cases as not psik reishei.

            One answer to Tosafot's question, which we will not discuss, is the opinion of the Aruch (see Tosafot Shabbat 103a, s.v. "lo"), who holds that psik reishei de-lo nicha lei (even though it is psik reishei, the secondary result is not only unintended, it is undesirable) is permitted. Tosafot in general rejects the opinion of the Aruch and hence does not mention it here.

            R. David (26b, s.v. "hatzuim") cites the Ramban who claims that in the case of hana'a, psik reishei is permitted by R. Shimon. In other words, despite the gemara's identification of our sugya with the disagreement of R. Shimon and R. Yehuda, this does not extend to psik reishei. In this respect, hana'a is different than Shabbat actions. The reasoning behind this distinction is not made clear in R. David (see also Ran , Chullin, ch. 7).

            I think the logic goes back to the basic problem in hana'a - every Torah prohibition requires an action. For hana'a, there has to be an action of "obtaining" the hana'a (and not merely the physiological sensation of hana'a). If one is mitkaven, then the action taken is defined as one of obtaining hana'a. In Shabbat, even if there is no kavana, if there is a state of psik reishei, then unintended result-actions are also related to the actor as his actions. here, in hana'a, however, there is an additional problem. Psik reishei relates, however, the question here is whether there is an action at all. Although the sensation of hana'a is a necessary result of his walking by the temple, and therefore the sensation relates to him, it is still not considered to be an action of obtaining hana'a, since the WALKING was not done in order to obtain hana'a. (In fact, the sensation of hana'a is related to the individual even without psik reishei, since sensations cannot be alienated from the body of the one who has them).

            What this means is that according to R. David there is a basic difference between the way kavana engenders issur and the psik reishei. Kavana for a certain result makes that result into the purpose of my actions; hence my actions are defined by that result. Therefore, one who walks in a certain direction in order to have hana'a has done an act of "walking to receive hana'a;" in other words, of obtaining hana'a. Psik reishei does not mean that the necessary result was the purpose of my actions, but merely that I have a direct relationship to the psik reishei event. It is not a secondary event, but a primary one. Since, in Shabbat cases, my relationship to both events is physically one of action - I dragged the chair and dug the furrow with the strength of my muscles, the only question is one of primary and secondary relationship. Kavana relates me even to secondary events; psik reishei makes secondary events into primary ones. However, in the case of hana'a, there is always a relationship of the individual to his hana'a. The question is whether he has PERFORMED AN ACTION to obtain that hana'a. Here, hana'a functions exactly as it does in Shabbat - it relates the goal of hana'a to the action of walking, in the same way that it would relate the goal of the furrow to the action of dragging. Psik reishei, on the other hand, is not relevant here - although psik reishei would make the act of digging a direct action of the individual, it cannot make the unintended sensation of hana'a into an action. Therefore our gemara does not mention psik reishei at all.

            Tosafot apparently understands psik reishei in hilkhot Shabbat as a substitute for kavana. The argument would be that if something is a necessary result of an action, it is meaningless to speak of the action as intended but the result as unintended. It is legally as though there were intention for the second as well. Hence, psik reishei and kavana are equivalents. R. David sees psik reishei not as the legal equivalent of kavana, but as a way to get around the lack of kavana - psik reishei relates the secondary action directly to the individual without need for kavana. This works in Shabbat, where the only problem is the relationship of the individual to the event. In hana'a, R. David is claiming, there is a different problem, namely the redefining of the event as an action (of the individual) in the first place. This is accomplished by relating the hana'a event to the (walking) action, for which kavana is an appropriate means. Psik reishei, which does not relate one action to another, but rather the action to the individual, is irrelevant here.

            The concepts involved in this discussion will hopefully become clearer when we examine, next week, the different cases in the gemara which exemplify the rule.

Next week: Try and finish all the cases in the gemara up to the middle of 26b ("... tiyufata"). The last one, involving sha'atnez, is the most important halakha lima'ase, since it is relevant to whether one may try on a suit in a store before having it sha'atnez-checked.

            Pay careful attention to Rashi on the first three cases on 26a. Aside from Tosafot, see R. David 26a, s.v. "Ve-ha"; "Shaini."