Saturday, November 24, 2012

In and out and in and out... Continued

After the first four chapters of Massekhet Shabbat dealt with Friday evening, from getting haircuts to keeping food warm, we now have seven straight chapters primarily about hotsa'ah, transferring stuff between private and public domains. I've wondered before why hotsa'ah has such a prominent place in the Talmud.

Chapter 5 discusses hotsa'ah done by an animal. The prohibition of causing an animal to carry has its own aseh, in addition to being included in the lo ta'aseh of rest on Shabbat. I plan to write a post on that, God willing.

But for now, one more source on the nature of hotsa'ah.

Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch discusses the uniqueness of hotsa'ah in his commentary to Exodus 35:1, the beginning of Parashat Vayyakhel.

Rav Hirsch notes, as I discussed, how hotsa'ah is unique as a melakhah geru'ah. But whereas Rav Steinsaltz sees this uniqueness as a exemplifying the idea of melakhah, Rav Hirsch fundamentally distinguishes hotsa'ah from the other thirty-eight melakhot.

He quotes the entirety of Jeremiah 37:19–27 as support:

כֹּה־אָמַר ה׳ אֵלַי הָלֹךְ וְעָֽמַדְתָּ בְּשַׁעַר בְּנֵֽי־(עם) הָעָם אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ בוֹ מַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה וַאֲשֶׁר יֵצְאוּ בוֹ וּבְכֹל שַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם: וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־ה׳ מַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה וְכָל־יְהוּדָה וְכֹל יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם הַבָּאִים בַּשְּׁעָרִים הָאֵֽלֶּה:

כֹּה אָמַר ה׳ הִשָּׁמְרוּ בְּנַפְשֽׁוֹתֵיכֶם וְאַל־תִּשְׂאוּ מַשָּׂא בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וַהֲבֵאתֶם בְּשַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם: וְלֹא־תוֹצִיאוּ מַשָּׂא מִבָּֽתֵּיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וְכָל־מְלָאכָה לֹא תַֽעֲשׂוּ וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּם אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵיכֶֽם: וְלֹא שָֽׁמְעוּ וְלֹא הִטּוּ אֶת־אָזְנָם וַיַּקְשׁוּ אֶת־עָרְפָּם לְבִלְתִּי (שומע) שְׁמוֹעַ וּלְבִלְתִּי קַחַת מוּסָֽר:

וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּן אֵלַי נְאֻם־ה׳ לְבִלְתִּי הָבִיא מַשָּׂא בְּשַׁעֲרֵי הָעִיר הַזֹּאת בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וּלְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְבִלְתִּי עֲשֽׂוֹת־(בה) בּוֹ כָּל־מְלָאכָֽה: וּבָאוּ בְשַׁעֲרֵי הָעִיר הַזֹּאת מְלָכִים וְשָׂרִים יֹשְׁבִים עַל־כִּסֵּא דָוִד רֹכְבִים בָּרֶכֶב וּבַסּוּסִים הֵמָּה וְשָׂרֵיהֶם אִישׁ יְהוּדָה וְיֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִָם וְיָשְׁבָה הָֽעִיר־הַזֹּאת לְעוֹלָֽם: וּבָאוּ מֵעָרֵֽי־יְהוּדָה וּמִסְּבִיבוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם וּמֵאֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן וּמִן־הַשְּׁפֵלָה וּמִן־הָהָר וּמִן־הַנֶּגֶב מְבִאִים עוֹלָה וְזֶבַח וּמִנְחָה וּלְבוֹנָה וּמְבִאֵי תוֹדָה בֵּית ה׳:

וְאִם־לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֵלַי לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וּלְבִלְתִּי שְׂאֵת מַשָּׂא וּבֹא בְּשַׁעֲרֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וְהִצַּתִּי אֵשׁ בִּשְׁעָרֶיהָ וְאָֽכְלָה אַרְמְנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְלֹא תִכְבֶּֽה:

He explains (trans. Isaac Levy, 2nd ed., page 669),

We have quoted this whole passage at length to show what great weight the word of the prophet lays on איסור הוצאה, carrying on שבת, but especially to point out how it does not seem to be regarded as an integral part of איסור מלאכה in general, but to be an idea which runs parallel to it. According to Jeremiah, keeping Sabbath comprises איסור הוצאה as well as איסור מלאכה, V.22 says וְלֹא־תוֹצִיאוּ מַשָּׂא מִבָּֽתֵּיכֶם בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וְכָל־מְלָאכָה לֹא תַֽעֲשׂוּ.

Then he explains the distinction:

If we look for the common idea which underlies all other מלאכות they all show the position of Man as master of matter, of all things of the physical world. But הוצאה is an affair purely of the social world.

He goes on to write about how hotsa'ah represents “the whole idea of social life,” connecting between individual and community. After following America’s hyper-partisan politics over last few years, these lines of Rav Hirsch set off “socialism” alarms in my brain. (Stam.)

Shabbat thus relates to activities of “both Nature and State,” the former sanctified by the first thirty-eight melakhot, and the latter by hotsa'ah. This is why, Rav Hirsch explains, the prophet connected the fall of the State specifically to violations of hotsa'ah.

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