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Shabbos 69


QUESTION: The Gemara says that it is not possible to forget every Melachah of Shabbos and still know that it is Shabbos. Why not? Let him remember (a) the Mitzvah to recite Kidush and Havdalah, or the Mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos, or (b) let him remember the Mitzvos Aseh of resting on Shabbos ("Shabason" cf. end of Daf 24b)!


(a) The RITVA explains that the Mitzvos of Oneg and Kidush/Havdalah are not the essence of Shabbos. In fact, their whole purpose is to remind one of the prohibition to do Melachah on Shabbos. Therefore, if a person remembers them but does not remember the Melachos, that is not considered remembering Shabbos. This does not answer, though, why remembering the Mitzvos Aseh of resting on Shabbos does not qualify as remembering Shabbos.

(b) TOSFOS (DH d'Yada) leaves this (b) as a question. The RITVA, though, answers that just like Reish Lakish maintains that having knowledge that Melachah on Shabbos is prohibited by a Lav prevents a person from being considered a Shogeg (even though he is mistaken regarding Kares), so, too, if a person knows that there is an Isur Aseh not to work on Shabbos (a Mitzvas Aseh which manifests itself in a prohhibition), it is also considered like one transgressed willfully and is not considered "Shogeg." Since we are looking for a case which even Reish Lakish will consider a Shogeg, it must be that the person does not know that there is *any* prohibtion of Melachah on Shabbos, even an Aseh.

(Tosfos and the other Rishonim who do not suggest that answer apparently disagree with the Ritva's assumptions.)


The Gemara concludes that a person who is wandering in the desert and loses track of what day of the week it is must count six days and observe the seventh as Shabbos. During the six interim days (as well as the seventh), because of the doubt that one of them might be Shabbos, he is permitted to perform only enough Melachah to keep himself alive, but no more. The seventh day is unique only in that Kidush and Havdalah is recited that day.

The VILNA GA'ON finds a hint to this Halachah in the verses of the commandment of observing Shabbos in the Ten Commandments. The verse states, "Six days you shall work, and you shall do *all* of your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest for Hashem your G-d; you shall not do *any* work..." (Shemos 20:9-10).

(a) Why does the Torah have to tell us to work six days?

(b) Why does the Torah stress that during the week we must do *all* of our work?

(c) Why does the Torah stress that on Shabbos we must not do *any* of our work?

ANSWER: The verse is not only commanding us to "observe" Shabbos ("Zachor"), but it is also commanding us to remember, and not to *forget* what day is Shabbos.
(a,b) If we remember what day is Shabbos, we will *be able to* perform *all* of our work, and not just the bare minimum necessary for life.

(c) And by remembering what day is Shabbos, when Shabbos comes we will be able to rest from *all* forms of work and not have to do *any* work, not even work necessary for life. (KOL ELIYAHU, Parshas Yisro, #63)

QUESTION: The Gemara says that a person who does not know what day is Shabbos should not do any Melachah on any day except for Melachah which is absolutely necessary for his survival. On the seventh day, he should recite Kidush and Havdalah in order to remind himself of the concept of a seventh day being designated unique as Shabbos.

However, if that day is not really Shabbos, why is it permitted to recite the blessings of Kidush and Havdalah?


(a) The RITVA, in his first answer, says that when the Gemara says that one should recite these blessings, it means that one should recite them without Hashem's name.

(b) In his second answer, the RITVA says that since Berachah l'Vatalah, reciting a blessing in vain, is prohibited mid'Rabanan, in this situation the Rabanan permitted it for Kavod Shabbos.

(c) The RADVAZ (1:76) says that when the Torah commands us to observe the Shabbos, the Torah only requires a person to keep one day out of seven as Shabbos, and not necessarily "Saturday." However, since the people in any given area have accepted upon themselves a certain day to be Shabbos, that day becomes Shabbos in that place, and a person would be Chayav Sekilah for not keeping that day. In a desert, though, no day has been established as Shabbos, and so one who forgets what day is Shabbos may keep *his* seventh day (with certain conditions, see the Radvaz there). According to the Radvaz, the prohibition for this person to do Melachah on the other six days is only a stringency that the Rabanan enacted (and not a result of a real doubt when Shabbos is), and the seventh day that he chooses to observe is truly Shabbos. (The Radvaz proposes this in response to the question of what day to observe as Shabbos past the International Dateline. See Parasha-Page, Emor 5756.)

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