Shiur Supplement for Shiur #29 Daf 25b-26a

  • Rav Zev Jacobson
Gemara Pesachim
Hana'a ha-Ba'a le-Adam Baal Korcho - Daf 25b-26a
 
 
            The gemara (daf 25b from line 20) discusses whether one is permitted to benefit from an issur hana'a, if one is placed in such a situation against his will. For example, one is walking down the road and smells the scent of incense from a place of Avoda Zara (Idol worship) from which it is forbidden to benefit. There are two factors that come into consideration:
1. Efsharut - Is it VIABLE for the person to avoid the situation in which he encounters the issur or not. For example, can he take an alternate route that does NOT pass by the place of Avoda Zara or not. This is termed by the gemara, "efshar" (viable) as opposed to "LO efsher" (not viable).
2. Kavana - The person's INTENTION (ie. Does he wish to gain hana'a from the issur or not).
 
            According to Abaye, one MAY benefit from the issur hana'a; according to Rava, one may NOT. The gemara proceeds to explain under what circumstances Abaye and Rava disagree based on the two factors (kavana  and efsharut) mentioned above. Thus, there are FOUR possible scenarios under discussion:
1. Efshar ve-ka'mi'khaven - It is a VIABLE option to avoid the issur AND the person INTENDS to benefit from the issur.
2. LO efshar ve-ka'mi'khaven - Although it is NOT a viable option to avoid the issur, the person, nevertheless, INTENDS to benefit from it.
3. Efshar ve-LO ka-mi'khaven - Although it is a VIABLE option to avoid the issur, nevertheless, the person does NOT intend to benefit from it.
4. LO efshar ve-LO ka-mi'khaven - It is NOT a viable option to avoid the issur AND the person does NOT intend to benefit from the issur.
 
            Scenario #1 is FORBIDDEN according to BOTH Abaye and Rava as, not only is it VIABLE for the person to AVOID his predicament, he also INTENDS to gain benefit from the issur hana'a.
 
            Scenario #4 is PERMITTED according to BOTH Abaye and Rava; it is NOT viable for the person to avoid the situation and, furthermore, he does NOT intend to benefit from the issur.
 
            However, scenarios #2 and #3 are subject to debate. The gemara raises TWO possible ways of interpreting the argument between Rava and Abaye and links their dispute to a Tana'itic argument. I will follow the interpretation of Rashi in explaining the sugya.
 
BACKGROUND: The Tosefta (Beitza 2:) records the following argument between R. Shimon and R. Yehuda: A person is PERMITTED to drag a chair, a bed or a bench on the ground in order to transport it from one place to another (assuming of course that he is permitted to carry between these two areas). This is despite the fact that by dragging the furniture, he will make grooves in the ground which is, ordinarily FORBIDDEN on Shabbat as it constitutes plowing. However, if he INTENDS to make these grooves, he may NOT drag the furniture. R. Yehuda disagress and FORBIDS dragging the furniture REGARDLESS of the person's intention.
 
            The gemara (Beitza 23b) explains that according to R. Shimon - "davar she-eino mitkaven MUTAR" - we DO take one's INTENTION into account. According to R. Yehuda, though - "davar she-eino mitkaven ASSUR" - we do NOT take one's intention into account.
 
            Note, the argument between R. Shimon and R. Yehuda is a complex one that is discussed extensively in many places throughout Shas and it has many ramifications. However, we will deal only with that which is relevant to the understanding of our gemara.   
 
            As mentioned above, the gemara raises TWO possibilities to define the parameters of the argument between Abaye and Rava, subject to the opinions of R. Shimon and R. Yehuda:
 
OPTION A
            BOTH Abaye and Rava FORBID gaining hana'a in scenario #2. (LO efshar ve-ka'mi'khaven - Although it is NOT a viable option to avoid the issur, the person, nevertheless, INTENDS to benefit from it.) Furthermore, they both agree that, according to R. Yehuda, it is FORBIDDEN to gain hana'a in scenario #3. (Efshar ve-LO ka-mi'khaven - Although it is a VIABLE option to avoid the issur, nevertheless, the person does NOT intend to benefit it.) This is based on the reasoning that R. Yehuda does NOT take one's intentions into account.
 
            However, Abaye and Rava disagree as to the opinion of R. Shimon in scenario #3: According to Abaye, R. Shimon would PERMIT one to gain hana'a as it is NOT his intention to do so. (This is analogous to the case of the Tosefta, where R. Shimon PERMITS one to drag a chair, a bed or a bench on the ground in order to transport it from one place to another, even though he, thereby, makes grooves on the ground. This is on condition, of course, that he does NOT intend to make these grooves.)
 
            According to Rava, however, R. Shimon only permits a "davar she-eino mitkaven" if the circumstances do NOT permit one to take an alternative course of action (ie. It is NOT efshar as in Scenario #1) If one is able to AVOID the situation that he is in, his intentions are immaterial. Thus, in our case, he is FORBIDDEN to gain hana'a. Similarly, if one is able to transport the furniture WITHOUT dragging it on the ground on Shabbat, he is required to do so.
 
            In short, the argument of Abaye and Rava centres around the following: According to R. Shimon, is KAVANA an INDEPENDENT factor or is is subject to the constraints of EFSHARUT.
 
OPTION B
            Rava AGREES with Abaye that scenario #3 (Efshar ve-LO ka-mi'khaven - Although it is a VIABLE option to avoid the issur, nevertheless, the person does NOT intend to benefit from it.) is subject to the argument between  R. Shimon and R. Yehuda. (As opposed to OPTION A where Rava maintained that R. Shimon would FORBID hana'a in such a case.)
 
            Furthermore, with regard to scenario #2 (LO efshar ve-ka'mi'khaven - Although it is NOT a viable option to avoid the issur, the person, nevertheless, INTENDS to benefit from it) both Abaye and Rava AGREE that R. Shimon would FORBID one to gain hana'a. This follows his standpoint that we DO take the person's intentions into account. (This point remains unchanged from Option A.)
 
            However, Abaye and Rava ARGUE concerning R. Yehuda's opinion in scenario #2 (LO efshar ve-ka'mi'khaven): According to Abaye, R. Yehuda and R. Shimon in the Tosefta are dealing with a scenario where it is VIABLE to transport the furniture by other means. In such a case, R. Yehuda is stringent and determines the halakha based on the person's intention. However, if there is NO viable alternative (LO efshar) R. Yehuda disregards the person's intention and PERMITS the furniture to be dragged even though the person INTENDS to make grooves in the ground. Thus, in our case, R. Yehuda would PERMIT one to gain hana'a as it is a case of LO efshar.
 
            According to Rava, it is unthinkable that R. Yehuda would permit hana'a in such a case. R. Yehuda is more strict than R. Shimon and FORBIDS a davar she-eino mitkaven even when it is NOT viable to take another course of action.
 
            In short, Rava and Abaye argue about the following: What is the main criterion according to R. Yehuda in our case - viability (Abaye) or kavana (Rava).