For the week ending 19 April 2014 / 19 Nisan 5774

Beitzah 21 - 27

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Slaughtering on Yom Tov an animal in which a non-Jew is a partner
  • Inviting a non-Jew for a Yom Tov meal
  • Heating water for washing feet or making a fire for heat
  • What can be done for one who forgot to make an eiruv tavshilin
  • Putting together a candelabra and extinguishing a candle or fire
  • Medical care on Shabbat and Yom Tov
  • Limitation on baking on Yom Tov
  • Sweeping and burning incense on Yom Tov and eating roast goat on Pesach eve
  • The cow of Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah's neighbor
  • Scratching an animal's back with a comb
  • Spice grinders and baby carriages
  • What constitutes forbidden trapping of an animal on Yom Tov
  • How to deal with things which were not trapped before Yom Tov
  • Some counsel on eating meat and vegetables and drinking wine
  • The positive aspect of Jewish chutzpah
  • Things forbidden because of their non-holiday nature
  • The bechor (first-born animal) that fell into a pit
  • Examining the bechor on Yom Tov to see if it has any blemish
  • The ban on moving an animal which died on Yom Tov

The Problem of Partnership

  • Beitzah 21a

Slaughtering an animal, baking bread or doing other things that are permitted on Yom Tov for the sake of preparing food for consumption that day can only be done if the food is the property of a Jew. Rabbi Chisda distinguishes between slaughtering an animal that is half owned by a non-Jew and between baking dough in which a non-Jew is a partner. His explanation is that slaughtering is permitted because, since it is impossible to eat any part of the animal without slaughtering it, we view this act as being performed on behalf of the Jewish partner. A loaf of dough, however, can be divided, so that the Jew will bake only his half. To bake the other half together with his is considered as working on behalf of the non-Jew and is forbidden on Yom Tov.

Tosefot raises the question that this seems to run counter to what Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar ruled (Beitzah 17a) that a woman is permitted to fill the oven with dough for baking bread even if she needs only a portion of it. His rationale is that each individual loaf attains greater quality when the oven is thus full, so that this is considered as baking for Yom Tov. Why then do we not apply this concept to baking the entire dough partly owned by the non-Jew?

The answer given by Tosefot is that where the entire dough is owned by a Jew and he has the option of eating any of the breads baked in that full oven or offering them to his Jewish guests; it is considered as if he baked for the sake of Jewish consumption, which is not so in the case of part of the dough belonging to a non-Jew.

What the Sages Say

"Why was the Torah given to the people of Israel? Because they are the boldest of nations."

  • Rabbi Meir (Beitzah 25b)

(Although our Sages tell us that G-d offered the Torah to all the nations, Only Israel was chosen to be urged into acceptance by placing the mountain above them. — Maharsha)

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