Kesher Aniva (11a)

  • Harav Baruch Gigi
Translated by Zev Jacobson
Dedicated by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Brum for the Refua Sheleima of
Dana Petrover (Batsheva bat Gittel Aidel Leba)
and Marvin Rosenberg (Meir Chaim ben Tzipporah Miriam)
In memory of six friends and family, 
strong pillars of the Montreal Jewish community, 
who have left us in the past 7 years. 
All were אוהבי עם ישראל, אוהבי ארץ ישראל, אוהבי תורת ישראל.
Joseph (Yosie) Deitcher
Avrum (Avy) Drazin
Rabbi Joseph Drazin
Leibel Frisch
Israel (Mutch) Yampolsky
Dr. Mark Wainberg
1. Pesachim 11a "ve-khol heikha de-lo badil minei... be-kshira lo michlefa."
2. Shabbat 113a Mishna "Koshrin de'li" and the gemara.
3. Shabbat 111b Mishna "Ve-eilu" and the gemara. Rashi s.v. ve-eilu.
4. Rambam Hilkhot Shabbat 10:1 & 5
5. Eiruvin 97a "ve-hashta de-tani... ke-ein keshira didhu."
6. Sukka 33b "ve-ein mema'atin be-yom tov... bechada". Rashi.
A. What is the definition of a kesher as opposed to aniva?
B. What is the basis of the argument between:
- R. Meir and the tana kama?
- Rashi and the Rambam?
- R. Yehuda and tanna kama?
I. Chakhamim and R. Yehuda
            The gemara (Pesachim 11a and Shabbat 113a) records the following argument relating to the laws of Shabbat: According to the Chakhamim, it is forbidden to make a knot to join together the rope of a bucket that has broken. However, it is permitted to make a slip-knot (aniva) in order to join the two sides together. According to R. Yehuda, though, even making a slip-knot is forbidden. (Nevertheless, it is permitted to wind a hollow belt or band around the strands in order to join them together.)
            The gemara (Shabbat 113a) continues to explain that the Chakhamim and R. Yehuda disagree as to the definition of the act of KOSHER (tying) - one of the 39 forbidden melakhot on Shabbat. According to R. Yehuda, a slip-knot (aniva) IS included in the definition; whereas the Chakhamim are of the opinion that it is not. Furthermore, according to Chakhamim, there is no reason to forbid making a slip-knot, even mi-de-rabbanan, as there is no chance that one will, thereby, come to make a forbidden knot (kesher).
            This shiur will attempt to analyze the nature of ANIVA and the argument between R. Yehuda and Chakhamim in this regard; relating, inter alia, to the nature and scope of Melekhet Kosher.
II. Melekhet Kosher - The forbidden act of TYING
            The Mishna (Shabbat 111b) states that it is forbidden to make a kesher of camel-riders or sailors on Shabbat. However, there are two opposing opinions in the Rishonim as to the defining characteristics of a forbidden kesher. According to Rashi (s.v. ve-eilu) and the Rosh, the sole criterion necessary in order to classify a knot as forbidden, is PERMANENCE (kayama). Thus, a kesher is defined as "a knot which is meant to be long-lasting" (kesher shel kayama). According to the Rif and the Rambam (Shabbat 10:1), however, there are TWO  criteria to consider:
1. PERMANENCE (kayama)- in agreement with Rashi and the Rosh; AND
2. CRAFTSMANSHIP - only a knot which is the work of a skilled craftsman (ma'aseh uman) is forbidden.
            Seemingly, this argument is based on conflicting understandings of the melakha of kosher. According to Rashi, only the RESULT is important and, thus, he defines the melakha as merely the JOINING TOGETHER of two separate strands. However, they are only considered to be joined together if the knot has permanence. According to the Rambam, though, both the RESULT and the METHOD are critical and, thus, not only must the knot have permanence, it must also be of a certain quality or standard -  defined as ma'aseh uman.
            Following from the above, it would seem that there are two possible approaches to explain why Chakhamim, in opposition to R. Yehuda, permit one to make an aniva on Shabbat:
1. Aniva is NOT considered a kesher shel kayama.
2. Aniva is NOT the work of a craftsman.
            According to Rashi, only the first reason would be relevant, while the Rambam could take either, or both, into account. In order to understand why aniva does not fulfill the necessary criterion, it is necessary to investigate these two opinions in more detail.
            According to Rashi, one is forbidden to make a kesher shel KAYAMA - regardless of its status as a ma'aseh uman. Previously, we defined the permanence of a knot as a function of whether it is long-lasting or not. This definition is ambiguous - on one hand, we could rely on SUBJECTIVE criteria such as the person's INTENTION at the time of tying the knot and only prohibit his action if he intends to leave the knot tied for an extended period of time. On the other hand, we could focus on OBJECTIVE criteria, such as the inherent NATURE of the knot and prohibit knots which are usually of permanent nature, regardless of the individual's intention at the time of tying.
            If we consider subjective criteria only, it is difficult to understand why it is permitted, according to Chakhamim to tie a slip-knot if one intends it to last a long time. Thus, it seems that even Rashi is concerned with objective criteria.
            This view is supported by the comment of Rashi in Shabbat (daf 111b s.v. ein chayavin): The mishna states that, according to R. Meir, one is not liable if he ties a knot that one could undo with ONE hand (a one-handed kesher). This applies, says Rashi, even if his intention was to leave the knot permanently tied. If one can undo the knot using one hand, the OBJECTIVE  criterion that is needed to define a kesher as forbidden is NOT met - the kesher must be one that is inherently regarded as a kesher shel kayama. Thus, we can conclude that according to Rashi's interpretation of Chakhamim, an ANIVA by its very nature is TEMPORARY - regardless if it is left tied for five minutes or for fifty years.
IV. One-handed kesher & aniva
             It is unclear, though, from the mishna how R. Meir relates to aniva and this is dealt with in the gemara. The gemara raises TWO possibilities as to how a one-handed kesher differs from a regular, forbidden, knot (according to R. Meir):
1. The one-handed kesher differs in STRUCTURE. It is  inherently formed in such a way so that it can be untied using one hand, even though it is tied tightly.
2. The knot resembles a forbidden kesher in every way. However, it was simply not tied tightly and can be undone.
            According to the first possibility, R. Meir would also permit a slip knot, which can be untied easily (with one hand) although it is tight.  However, according to the second possibility, R. Meir would prohibit a slip knot, which was tied tightly.  The gemara is UNABLE to reach a conclusion regarding R. Meir's opinion concerning aniva and leaves the issue unresolved.
            Now let us focus on the opinion of the Chakhamim. They PERMIT one to tie an aniva on Shabbat, yet FORBID tying a one-handed kesher. At first glance, this creates a contradiction. Although, both an aniva and a one-handed kesher differ structurally from a kesher shel kayama, there is seemingly more reason to forbid an aniva than a one-handed kesher as an aniva is tied tightly. Furthermore, it seems that Chakhamim are unconcerned with the fact that the knot can be easily undone, and do not define kesher shel kayama based on objective criterion. (This is the reason they argue with R. Meir concerning a one-handed kesher.) Thus, they should view an aniva stringently and agree with R. Yehuda who forbids making it on Shabbat.
            As a result of this problem, the Ritva and the Rid claim that, in fact, R. Meir and Chakhamim AGREE that it is permissible to tie a one-handed kesher - R. Meir is merely explaining the position of Chakhamim. (The opinion of Chakhamim with regards to a one-handed kesher is not explicitly mentioned in mishna.) Thus, Chakhamim who permit one to make an aniva on Shabbat will most definitely permit one to tie a knot that can be undone with one hand. Nonetheless, the opinion of R. Meir concerning aniva is still unclear to the gemara as explained above - he may prohibit an aniva, since it is tied tightly, while permitting a loose knot which can be easily untied.
            However, most Rishonim do NOT accept this interpretation and conclude, le-halakha, that the Chakhamim PERMIT an aniva but FORBID a one-handed kesher. This can be explained as follows: An aniva is not at all defined as a kesher, since inherent in its design is the possibility to undo it and, thus, it is seen as "undone" even while it is tied. A one-handed kesher, though, IS defined as a kesher, and the fact that it has been tied loosely does NOT detract from this definition.
[NOTE: This explanation of aniva is NOT compatible with the gemara's assumption, that R. Meir would prohibit an aniva, if allowing a one-handed kesher based only upon its looseness.]
            As mentioned previously, the Rambam and the Rif can allow aniva based on the following:
1. Aniva is NOT defined as a kesher shel kayama (knot of permanence); AND/OR
2. Aniva is NOT defined as a ma'aseh uman which defines the act of the melakha.
            If we adopt the second option, then we can explain that this point is the basis of the argument between R. Yehuda and Chakhamim.  Only Chakhamim require both components: 1. permanence and 2. act of kesher.  R. Yehuda (similar to Rashi's explanation of Chakhamim) only requires permanence.  Therefore, aniva which is not created through a halakhically recognized ma'aseh kesher, but is permanent, is permitted by the Chakhamim while prohibited by R. Yehuda.  Alternatively, and R. Yehuda could explain that aniva is, in fact considered a ma'aseh kesher, consequently, is forbidden, even if he accepts the same basic criterion of kesher as the Chakhamim.
            These two explanations of R. Yehuda are seemingly dependent on an argument in Eiruvin (97a): It is not permitted to make an aniva for tefillin in order to strap them to one's body so that they make be carried into a protected area on Shabbat. According to R. Chisda, this is because an aniva is NOT considered a kesher that is fit for tefillin. According to Abaye, however, it is fit for tefillin.  However, the criterion of kesher with respect to tefillin, are not necessarily identical with those of Shabbat.
V. Aniva -Heter le-khatchila
            It is difficult to understand why Chakhamim allow an aniva to be tied on Shabbat - surely it should be forbidden, at the very least, mi-de-rabbanan. This should be true if we consider an aniva as a kesher shel kayama but NOT ma'aseh uman, or even if we don't consider it to be a kesher shel kayama but define it as a ma'aseh uman. Since it is similar in at least ONE respect to a kesher that is FORBIDDEN mi-de-oraita, it should in turn be forbidden mi-de-rabbanan.
            It could be claimed, that according to the Chakhamim, aniva is NEITHER a kesher shel kayama nor a ma'aseh uman - thus, bearing NO resemblance whatsoever to a forbidden kesher. Consequently, it is permissible even mi-derabbanan. Although, this possibility does exist, it is highly improbable that Chakhamim and R. Yehuda have such an extreme argument, for according to R. Yehuda, aniva is BOTH a kesher shel kayama AND a ma'aseh uman.
            Thus, it makes sense to explain the opinion of the Rambam somewhat differently. Until this point, we have accepted that according to the Rambam, there are two criterion of EQUAL weight that must be considered: kesher shel kayama and ma'aseh uman. When both factors are present, it is forbidden mi-de-oraita to tie the knot; when only ONE factor is present, it is forbidden mi-de-rabbanan to make the kesher; and when neither factor is present, it is completely permissible. I would like to suggest, however, that according to the Rambam there is, in fact, only ONE dominant factor to consider - chibur kayama (a permanent attachment). However, this attachment is only forbidden mi-de-oraita if it is formed by a knot that is a ma'aseh uman.   This is only an external condition; it is not part of the basic definition of the melakha.  Thus, it is considered a ma'aseh melakha mi-de-rabbanan to tie a kesher shel kayama that is not a ma'aseh uman. However, tying a kesher that is not one of kayama is NOT considered a ma'aseh melakha at all - even though it is a ma'aseh uman. Nonetheless, it may still be forbidden mi-de-rabbanan, for side reasons; perhaps in order to distance one from the prohibition of tying a kesher shel kayama.
            This distinction is clear from the order in which the Rambam sets out the halakhot of kosher [Shabbat 10:1-2]: In the first halakha, he mentions the law of a kesher shel kayama that is a ma'aseh uman; kesher shel kayama that is NOT a ma'aseh uman; and a knot that is neither a kesher shel kayama nor a ma'aseh uman. It is only in the second halakha that he refers to the law of a knot that is a ma'aseh uman but is NOT a kesher shel kayama.
            Our new understanding in the Rambam also explains why it is permissible to make a kesher on Shabbat for the purpose of a mitzva, ONLY if it is not a kesher shel kayama (even though it is a ma'aseh uman). A kesher that is NOT a ma'aseh uman but IS a kesher shel kayama may NOT be tied eon Shabbat even for the purpose of a mitzva. The Rabbis did not permit one to do a ma'aseh melakha de-rabbanan but they did allow one to transgress a side gezeira under these extenuating circumstances.
            Returning to the question of aniva which prompted a revised look at the opinion of the Rambam, it is now possible to understand why it is entirely permissible to make an aniva on Shabbat and is not forbidden even mi-de-rabbanan. As explained earlier, an aniva is considered undone despite the fact that it is presently tied and, thus, it CANNOT be said to JOIN the two pieces together. As a result, there is no reason to forbid making an aniva even mi-de-rabbanan since there is neither a ma'aseh kesher de-rabbanan, nor a chance that one will consequently make a kesher that is forbidden mi-de-oraita. (In the words of the gemara, "aniva be-kshira lo michlifi.")
Nafka Minot: LULAV
            Taking into account all that we have mentioned above, we will examine two areas concerning egged lulav (the binding together of the lulav, haddassim and aravot):
1. TYPE of kesher required - Although, le-halakha, it is not essential to bind the 3 species together; nevertheless, it is best to do so (mitzva min ha-muvchar). To this end, Rashi (Sukka 33b s.v. )states that one should make a proper knot (kesher gamur) and tie the two ends of the bind together.
            According to Chakhamim that an aniva does NOT constitute a kesher, is it preferable to tie an actual knot to bind the lulav together, or is it permissible to use an aniva? On one hand, there are those authorities who permit an aniva for tefillin - perhaps they would recognize aniva as an acceptable method of binding the lulav as well. Nonetheless, it is possible to distinguish between tefillin and lulav on the following basis: When it comes to tefillin, we are concerned that there should be a ma'aseh kesher, and to this end, aniva is sufficient. However, the three species must be BOUND together (chibur) and this cannot be achieved by making an aniva.
            The Shulchan Arukh (O.C. 651:1) follows the latter approach and requires a regular kesher to be used as opposed to an aniva.
2. Binding the lulav on YOM TOV - It is forbidden to tie a kesher on Yom Tov (the prohibition will be either de-oraita or de-rabbanan depending on the type of kesher). Is it all preferable to make an aniva (which bears some resemblance to a kesher) as opposed to merely wrapping something around the three species to bind them together (kerikha)? The Rif makes no distinction between kerikha and aniva in this regard, which supports our contention that a chibur is required to bind the lulav and an aniva does NOT fulfill this requirement at all. The Mishna Berura (651:11) though, finds it preferable to use an aniva. It is possible to explain his opinion if we view aniva as creating some sort of chibur, in contrast with merely wrapping something around the three species which does not serve to bind at all. (Nonetheless, there is an alternative understanding of the Mishna Berura that does not hinge on the ability of an aniva to create a chibur: Aniva is preferable to kerikha as it lasts longer and is less likely to become undone.)   
            Mi-de-oraita it is forbidden to tie a kesher on Shabbat. According to R. Yehuda, ANIVA is included in this prohibition; the Chakhamim, however, permit it.
            Rashi is of the opinion that any kesher shel KAYAMA is forbidden to be tied on Shabbat. Thus, aniva is permitted, according to Chakhamim as it is objectively temporary in nature. The Rambam, however, states that only a kesher shel kayama that is ALSO a ma'aseh uman is forbidden mi-de-oraita. Aniva is permitted, even mi-de-rabbanan as it is not even considered a kesher. This is in distinction to a one-handed kesher that is forbidden mi-de-rabbanan as it IS a knot. (This is according to most Rishonim - the Rid and Ritva claim, however, that it is permitted to tie a one-handed kesher.)
            We offered two basic alternatives to explain the view of R. Yehuda:
1. Even a kesher that is not shel kayama is forbidden if it is considered to be a knot (ma'aseh kesher).
2. We are unconcerned with the variables of ma'aseh kesher, kesher shel kayama and ma'aseh uman. Aniva creates a CHIBUR and this is forbidden on Shabbat.
NOTE: Even Chakhamim could agree that aniva creates a chibur. However, this would not be sufficient cause to forbid its use on Shabbat.
A. Aniva for LULAV: If aniva creates a chibur, it is possible that there is no preference for making a knot as opposed to an aniva. If it does NOT create a chibur - a knot should definitely be used. [This assumes that we are concerned mainly with chibur with regards to lulav.]
B. Is it preferable to use a kerikha or an aniva to bind a lulav on Yom Tov?  According to the Rif there is NO difference (aniva does not create a chibur). According to the Mishna Berura, aniva is preferable (aniva creates a chibur).
Next week's shiur by R. Yair Kahn concerns the topic: The Prohibition of Chametz on Erev Pesach.
SOURCES: (All gemarot are in Pesachim.)
1. Daf 11b The mishna, and  gemara until the next mishna (14a); daf 28a "Mani ... le-tokh zemano."
2. Daf 4b "Tenan Hatam ... arba'a asar le-bi'ur." Rambam Chametz u-Matza (1:8) and Hasagot ha-Ra'avad, Sefer Ha-mitzvot (lavin 199) and Hasagot ha-Ramban.
3. Daf 7a "De-amar Rav Gidal... le-kiddushin," Ba'al Ha-ma'or.
4. Rambam Chametz u-Matza (1:9-10), Mamrim (4:1).
1. What does the Rambam in Sefer Ha-mitzvot attempt to prove from the gemara on 4b? Why does the Ramban reject this proof?
2. Why doesn't the Ba'al Ha-ma'or accept the ruling of Rav on 7b? Would he also rule against our Mishna?
3. What is the difference between Rashi's explanation of the term "tolin" and the Rambam's?
4. One who eats chametz during the sixth hour is punished with lashes. Is the same true according to the Rambam if one eats chametz during the fifth hour? Why?