Monday, April 9, 2012

Fast of the Firstborn-Siyyum Masechet Shabbat Yerushalmi

It seems that we Jews cannot celebrate a holiday without mourning or fasting first. Before Purim there is Ta'anit Esther. Before Sukkot there is Yom Kippur and before the modern yom tov of Israeli independence day there is memorial day..Last week the day before Pesach was ta'anit  Bechorot-the fast of the first born, commemorating that terrible night in Egypt when Hashem passed over the first born of Israel and struck down the first born of Egypt. It is customary for all first born and fathers of first born sons to participate in the festive meal in honor of the completion of a tractate of the Talmud and therefore be exempt from the fast.

This year I made a siyyum on the completion of  massechet Shabbat of thr Talmud Yerushalmi.. The siyyum was also in honor of the yahrtzeit of my father-in-law, Abe (Avraham ben Efraim) Rich Alav haShalom who passed away on Erev Pesach twelve years ago..

On page 91B the last Mishna in the Yerushalmi Shabbat deals with the laws of moving forbidden objects on Shabbat. We learned that is  forbidden to arrange the straw on a mattress . Straw is muktzeh (a forbidden object) since in general there is no use for it on Shabbat. It is permitted however to lie down on the straw and move it with your body. This is tiltul muktzeh keliachar yad ie moving a forbidden object indirectly. Also if the straw can be used as fodder, or if there was a pillow on it before Shabbat it is not considered  muktzeh.
We also learned that a householder's press ( used for smoothing wrinkled clothing) may be dismantled on Shabbat but it is forbidden to dismantle a professional launderer's press. Rabbi Yehudah says that in any case if the press was loosened before Shabbat it is permitted to remove the clothes.

The Gemarra Yerushalmi says that the law of the Mishna is only relevant where the straw was never used before for a mattress, but if it had been used before it is considered to be part of the mattress and is permitted. R' Ya'akov bar Iddi said that earlier authorities asked if the straw could be moved using the elbows. R' Yannai, one of the foremost Amoraim of the Yerushalmi., said it is forbiddento do so, and added a curse upon all who are lenient  in this ruling saying "May his house fall upon all who rule leniently in this case."  R" Chiyya said that one must differentiate between the rich and the poor since straw is the only mattress that the poor man has while the rich can afford soft feather beds and pillows.
In another case chachamim agreed with R'Meir that the lids of cisterns can be untied or cut open on Yom Tov but not on Shabbat. But there is a kushia-In principle the laws pertaining to building or taking things apart do not apply to recepticles.(binyan vestira be kelim)  The answer is that cisterns are dug out or built into the ground therefore the laws  of building and demolition apply.Similarly the launderer's press was a built in contraption and therefore cannot be dismantled. R' Yossi added that there is also a question of  tiltul machmat chesron kis  that is since the launderer's press is an expensive piece of machinery it is forbidden to move it or touch it on Shabbat.

הדרן עלך פרק תולין וסליקא לה מסכת שבת

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