Talmud Tips

For the week ending 27 June 2020 / 5 Tammuz 5780

Shabbat 107-113

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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Tips for Honoring Shabbat

The following Talmud Tips are all derived in our daf from Sefer Yeshayahu (58:13-14), where we find various non-melacha activities that are forbidden on Shabbat and the reward for refraining from them: “If you refrain on Shabbat from doing your affairs on My holy day, and you call the Shabbat a delight… and you will honor it (v’chibadeto) by not doing your ways (me’asot derachecha)… and not speaking ‘a thing’ (v’daber davar), then, you will delight with Hashem, and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the Land, and I will give you the inheritance of Yaakov, your father, for Hashem has spoken.”

Dressing Up for Shabbat

Rabbi Yochanan said, “My clothes honor me.”

Rashi explains that clothes honor the person who wears them. Rabbi Yochanan wore “rabbinical garb” that was suitable for him and therefore honored him. Likewise, when a person dresses up for Shabbat, his clothing helps him express his honor for Shabbat.

The beraita learns from the word v’chibadeto — and you will honor Shabbat — that “one should not dress on Shabbat as he dresses during the week.” Dressing up on Shabbat shows great honor to Hashem, His Creation and His gift of Shabbat to the Jewish People.

  • Shabbat 113a

Not Walking the Walk

We learned in a beraita, “One should not walk on Shabbat in the same manner as one walks during the week.”

This teaching is based on the same verse in Sefer Yeshayahu, specifically the words me’asot derachecha — from doing your [regular] paths. In defining a type of walk that should not be done on Shabbat, the gemara cites a dialogue between Rebbi and Rabbi Shimon b’Rabbi Yossi. Rebbi asked if a pesiah gasah (a large step) is permitted on Shabbat. The answer he received was, “It is not only prohibited on Shabbat, but during the week as well since a pesiah gasah takes away 1/500th of one’s eyesight.” Since this manner of walk is forbidden during the week as well as on Shabbat, how is pesiah gasah an example of a manner of walk that is forbidden on Shabbat although permitted during the week?

The Maharsha explains that although pesiah gasah is forbidden during the week due to health reasons (and is a sign of the very negative character trait of haughtiness), there is no formal Torah prohibition or rabbinical enactment that bans it during the week. On Shabbat, however, in addition to not walking in this manner due to safety considerations, there is a specific ban on pesiah gasah, based on the words me’asot derachecha in Sefer Yeshayahu.

  • Shabbat 113a-b

Not Talking the Talk

We learned in a beraita, “One should not speak on Shabbat in the same manner as one speaks during the week.”

This prohibition is based on the words v’daber davar in Sefer Yeshayahu. This additional enactment is another way to help us properly honor Shabbat. According to Rashi this law prohibits talking on Shabbat about the weekday and mundane matters of business since it is an activity not allowed on Shabbat. Rabbeinu Tam agrees that business talk is forbidden, but that it is learned from a different source than v’daber davar. He writes that v’daber davar teaches that one should not talk on Shabbat excessively, even about permitted topics. A support for this idea is a teaching in the Talmud Yerushalmi that our Sages only ‘barely’ permitted greeting others on Shabbat with “Shabbat Shalom.”

The Maharsha offers a reason for this emphasis on the quality and quantity of our speech on Shabbat. “Word is equivalent to work on Shabbat,” he explains. Where do we see this? The Torah states that Hashem rested on the seventh day “from all the work that He had done.” (Ber. 2:2) David Hamelech writes that “with the word of Hashem” everything was created. (Tehillim 33:6) Hashem’s “word(s)” did the “work” of creating the world. Therefore, since word is work, we should take special care on Shabbat in choosing what to speak about and how much speech is really necessary. (See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 306 and 307 for more details regarding “kosher talk” on Shabbat).

  • Shabbat 113b

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