כ״ה בתשרי ה׳תשע״ג (October 11, 2012)

Shabbat 8a-b: Transferring From a Mysterious Threshold

We learned above daf 5 that there are four domains regarding the laws of Shabbat – public, private, exempt and the Rabbinic karmelit. The Gemara on today’s daf presents a case and tries to determine which of the four domains is being discussed –

The Master said: A person standing on the threshold may take an object from the homeowner standing in the private domain and may give an object to him. Similarly, while standing there, he may take an object from a poor person standing in the public domain and may give an object to him.

This ruling appears difficult to the Gemara.

If the threshold under discussion is in a public domain how can he take an object from the homeowner? Isn’t he carrying out from the private domain to the public domain?

If, however, the threshold is in a private domain, how can he take an object from a poor person? Isn’t he carrying in from the public domain to the private domain?

Even if the threshold is a karmelit, how can he take and give an object ab initio? There still should be a rabbinic prohibition!

The Gemara concludes that the case is referring to a threshold that is merely an exempt domain, and therefore there is no prohibition at all. Such a case can be found where the threshold does not have an area of four by four handbreadths, and it is therefore not considered a domain with regard to liability on Shabbat. The Gemara compares this to a teaching presented by Rav Dimi:

And that halakha is similar to that statement made when Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia and he said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: A place that does not have an area of four by four handbreadths and is set apart, it is permissible for both  the people of the private domain and for the people of the public domain to adjust the burden on their shoulders upon it on Shabbat, as long as they do not exchange objects between them from one domain to the other domain.

 

Rav Dimi was one of who descended, or who would often travel from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, primarily to transmit the Torah of Eretz Yisrael to the Torah centers of the Diaspora, although occasionally, he traveled on business, as well. Consequently, many questions, particularly those concerning the Torah of Eretz Yisrael, remained unresolved, until the messenger from Zion would arrive and elucidate the halakha, the novel expression, or the unique circumstances pertaining to a particular statement that required clarification.

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