QUESTION: The Gemara (116b) cites a Tosefta which states that when the
fourteenth of Nisan falls on Shabbos, one may skin the animal being used as
his Korban Pesach on Shabbos in order to remove the intestines, which are
offered on the Mizbe'ach. The Gemara asks that such an act should be
forbidden because of the Melachah d'Oraisa of skinning an animal. The
Gemara answers that when one skins the animal to remove the intestines, he
is not Miskaven to skin the animal (but rather to remove the intestines),
and thus his act is a "Davar sh'Eino Miskaven." The Gemara asks that it is
nevertheless a "Pesik Reshei" that skinning is going to be done. The Gemara
answers that he rips off the skin in small pieces, and thus his act is not
considered one of skinning at all.
REBBI AKIVA EIGER questions the basic premise of our Gemara. What does this
act of skinning, even if it is done only to remove the intestines, have to
do with Davar sh'Eino Miskaven? A Davar sh'Eino Miskaven involves intending
to do one act, and incidentally performing another act. For example,
typical cases of Davar sh'Eino Miskaven include intending to sweep dirt off
the floor (act: sweeping out dirt) and thereby unintentionally smoothing
out the floor (act: smoothing the ground), or dragging a bed across the
ground (act: dragging) and unintentionally digging a furrow in the floor
(act: digging). In such cases, the person is doing one act, and as a
result, another act happens simultaneously. If the second act will always
inevitably occur, then that is a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven with a Pesik
In the case of our Gemara, though, the person is not doing another act,
with the secondary result of skinning. Rather, he intends to do the act of
skinning the animal, but not for the *purpose* of obtaining the skin. It
is not a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven, because he has full intention to do this
act (skinning) and no other act. Rather, it is a Melachah sh'Einah
Tzerichah l'Gufah since he is doing it for an abnormal purpose! (This is
comparable to digging a ditch in order to get the dirt and not to make a
ditch; capturing a snake in order to protect oneself from harm and not to
obtain the body of the snake; extinguishing a fire to put out the light and
not for the purpose of obtaining charcoal). This type of act is forbidden
according to everyone, even Rebbi Shimon (mid'Rabanan), and it has nothing
to do with either Davar sh'Eino Miskaven or Pesik Reishei!
Why, then, does the Gemara refer to skinning the animal as a Davar sh'Eino
ANSWER: A possible approach to understanding the Gemara is based on the
words of RABEINU CHANANEL. According to Rabeinu Chananel, skinning the
Pesach is a Davar sh'Eino Miskaven because the person "does not have
intention to *skin the hide*, but rather to *expose the flesh* (and
underlying intestines) of the animal" in order to remove the intestines.
Davar sh'Eino Miskaven, as mentioned above, is when an *unintended action*
occurs. When one, for example, digs a ditch in order to get the dirt, he is
doing only *one* action -- removing dirt from a certain area. Through that
single action (digging) on the single object (dirt), two things are
accomplished: he gets the dirt, and he makes a ditch. That is a Melachah
sh'Einah Tzerichah l'Gufah.
Here, too, two actions are occurring simultaneously. The person is
*removing the intestines* from the animal (see RASHI, 116b, DH Ad
ha'Chazeh). His action is defined as making the intestines underneath the
flesh accessible. *Another* action which simultaneously occurs on *another*
object without his intent is that the skin is removed. Therefore, skinning
the Pesach does indeed fall under the category of Davar sh'Eino Miskaven.
(Rebbi Akiva Eiger apparently maintained that exposing the flesh is not an
appropriate description of the action; the action of exposing the flesh may
indeed be described as *skinning*.)
OPINIONS: The Gemara says that when cutting the Chalah at the Shabbos meal,
one should lift both loaves of Lechem Mishneh while reciting the blessing
of "Ha'Motzi." Rav Kahana ruled that he should then cut *one* of the
loaves. The Gemara then relates that Rebbi Zeira would cut "his entire
meal" from the Chalah. What does that mean?
(a) RASHI explains that he would cut a very large slice of bread which
would last for the entire meal. He did this in order to show how beloved
the Shabbos meal -- and thus the Shabbos -- was to him.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 274:1) cites Rashi's opinion (a) as the
Halachah, and says that one should cut one of the two loaves, and that he
should cut a large slice.
(b) The RASHBA disagrees with Rashi. He argues that Rashi's explanation of
Rebbi Zeira's custom of cutting a large slice has nothing to do with the
Sugya, which is discussing preparing two loaves for Lechem Mishneh. Rather,
the Rashba explains that the Gemara means that Rebbi Zeira cut through both
of his two loaves of Lechem Mishneh.
The VILNA GA'ON (on the Shulchan Aruch ad loc.) rules in accordance with
the Rashba's opinion (b), that one should cut both loaves of Lechem
Mishneh, like Rebbi Zeira did.
Elsewhere, the Vilna Ga'on points out that this resolves a puzzling
statement of the Zohar. The Zohar says that a person should have twelve
loaves of Chalah on Shabbos, corresponding to the twelve loaves of the
Lechem ha'Panim in the Beis ha'Mikdash that were eaten on Shabbos. If we
eat Lechem Mishneh for three meals, we only have six loaves. How do we have
(1) One common custom (of Chasidic Rebbes) is to recite Ha'Motzi on twelve
loaves (or small Chalah-rolls) at each meal.
(2) Another custom is to have four loaves at each meal, so that the total
number of loaves after the three Shabbos meals comes to twelve.
(3) The Vilna Ga'on says that it is sufficient to have only two loaves at
each meal. However, since one is supposed to cut through *both* loaves, one
obtains four halves of loaves at each meal, or twelve half-loaves over the
course of Shabbos! (See Berachos 4b, where a "half" is also called one