The gemarra Shabbos 75a seems to say that someone who traps a chilazon violated the melacha of trapping on Shabbos. Tosafos brings the Yerushalmi (7:2, 52a) that says that one doesn't violate the melacha of trapping on Shabbos if they trap a chilazon. In fact, the gemarra there brings a dispute about this. Tosafos leave the matter as tzarich iyun how someone could say there's no melacha of trapping with a Chilazon.

What is the reasoning behind this dispute? Does anyone offer suggestions? The only one I found is from Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld from the Kollel Iyun HaDaf. He suggests that the Bavli and the Yerushalmi are arguing about the identity of the chilazon. He doesn't mention this, but that would seemingly also make it the dispute in the Yerushalmi itself between the Tannaim. I find this approach unreasonable because the Tannaim and Amoraim and even Geonim had access to techeiles, so they seemingly should know the identity of the chilazon and not argue about it. Also, saying it's a dispute calls into question the characteristics the Bavli suggests for identifying the chilazon, as the Yerushalmi could be right about its identity and not the Bavli.

In any event, what's the reason for the dispute?

5 Answers 5


See the Korban HaEida there who suggests that that opinion means to say that trapping is never a melacha on Shabbos. The reason it is said in the context of chilazon is to prove that trapping was unnecessary in the Mishkan, and thus is not an av melacha.

None of the animals that were used in the Mishkan required trapping; they were either domestic animals or supernatural (i.e. the tachash, which was given directly to Moshe and did not need to be trapped). Thus, the only trapping that could have occurred in the Mishkan would be the chilazon.

According to this rendering, the dispute in the Yerushalmi is if they trapped chilazons in the desert. This opinion holds that they did not have the chilazon in the desert, as it was only found in Eretz Yisroel, and therefore trapping never occurred in the Mishkan. Hence, no trapping would be a melacha, not just a chilazon.

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    remember that according to this explanation there are only 38 melachos something which no-one else dared suggest before the Korban Haeda.
    – user15464
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 17:43

The Radziner Rebbe addresses this Yerushalmi in his landmark kuntres on techeiles, Sefunei Temunei Chol.

He explains the opinion in the Yerushalmi that exempts a person for trapping the chilazon as follows. He says it's only necessary to trap the chilazon while it's in the sea. However, the gemarra says that it sometimes goes up mountains. When it's there, it's considered already trapped, as it's easily accessible. He argues that while the Jews were in the wilderness, constructing the Mishkan, the chilazon was miraculously brought there. While on land, it doesn't require trapping.

Since when the Jews built the Mishkan, it wasn't necessary to trap the chilazon, therefore even later on in history, when it is necessary to trap it while it is in the sea, there's no violation of Shabbos. This opinion holds that only other animals, that weren't involved in the Mishkan, would then be forbidden to trap on Shabbos. This is learned from the Tachash, which although it was created miraculously when the Jews were in the wilderness, it still required trapping on their part.

The opposing opinion in the Yerushalmi, as well as the opinion mentioned in the Bavli, which says there is a violation of trapping the chilazon, simply holds the chilazon is no different than any other animal. Since there are times where it is necessary to trap it, namely while it is in the sea, at those times it is forbidden.


The Tosfos Aharon (Rov of pinsk 18 century) completely rejects the Korban Haeda (brought in the other answer) who is suggesting that the Yerushalmi holds there is no Melacha of Tzod (i.e only 38 Melachos) which is against the Mishna Shabbos 7,2 that clearly enumerates Tzod Tzvi as one of the 39 Melachos.

The Tosfos Aharon suggests an alternative explanation according to the Rambam 10,19 who says that one who captures kosher locusts to eat is exempt from Tzod as ein bemino nitzod - it is not a common type of animal to capture. So too with Chilazon as useful as it was, it is very uncommon to catch (indeed it rose to the surface once every 70 years and was very expensive). The Yerushalmi brings this opinion that we only learn the av melacha of tzod - capturing - from the capturing of the Tachash which was made readily available to Moshe specifically at that time, unlike the chilazon which was extremely scarce when required and therefore not included in the melacha of tzod -capturing easily available animals.

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    Thank you. Could you clarify who the tosafos Aharon is? I don't quite get his arguments. The Korbon HaEidah clearly understood the yerushalmi as brining a Tanna who is cholek on the mishnah which lists tzad in the 39. Also, how could anyone say the chilazon wasn't caught? There was clearly an entire industry built on its dye. Also, what's the machlokes, if it's called something normally caught?
    – robev
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 17:27
  • Rav Aharon the Av Beis din of Pinsk (Ukraine) died 1841 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_of_Pinsk
    – user15464
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 17:32
  • You are right that he argues with the premise of the Toldos Aharon that there are 38 Melachos because the Yerushalmi doesn't say this and you'd probably agree its a bomber chiddush for an Acharon to even suggest when there s another way of understanding. It seems that the Techeiles industry was very expensve because of the rare citings of Chilazon, and Tzad was supposed to be a Melacha day to day capturing of such animals like the common deer (hence tzad tzvi) so uncommon capturing were just not included in the Av Melacha like capturing a snake (Rambam) as valuble as the snake venom might be.
    – user15464
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 17:40
  • @robev just forgot to ping you
    – user15464
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 17:51
  • Doesn't the gemarra say that there were those whose professions it was to capture the chilazon? They wouldn't have a livelihood if it was rarely caught. Indeed, those who favor the Murex snail use that as an argument that the once in seventy years thing isn't to be read literally. If so, why would it be considered ein bemino nitzod? Unless he's saying the Bavli and Yerushalmi argue if it was commonly caught or not.
    – robev
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 22:36

The difference between the Yerushalmi and the Bavli maybe be accounted for as follows:

  1. Chilazon is a general term in Aramaic that means “snail”.

See the Arukh:

חלזון   [שנעקע] (פרק יב דכליים) או שקשר חלזון בראשה טמאה פי' זה הוא צורתו ונקרא חלזון כמו החלזון שהוא מוקף (א"ב בעל הערוך צייר בספרו צורת חלזון וכן עשה בקרדום שניטל עושפו עיין ערך בקע ג'):

See Klein:

חִלָּזוֹן m.n. PBH 1 conchiferous animal, snail, Gastropoda (zoology). 2 cataract of the eye. 3 a snail-shaped ring. [Together with Aram. חִלֽזוֹנָא, Syr. חָלְזוֹנָא, whence prob. Arab. ḥalazūn (= snail), of unknown origin.] Derivatives: חלזן, חֶלְזוֹנִי.

Many rishonim identify the chilazon as a snail, as seen here:

• Rambam in the Perush Al HaMishnah (Keilim 12:1)

חלזון- והוא כעין צדף עשוי מברזל נועלים בו את הדלתות, ואותו הצדף הוא צדף של בעל חי הימי הנקרא חלזון

Chilazon - It is like a shell made of iron, like the shell of the sea creature that is called Chalzun in Arabic (snail).

• Rabbeinu Gershom (Berachot 38b), Rashi (Avodah Zarah 28b)

״חלזון קורים בלע״ז לימץ״

“The chilazon is called in foreign language, limace (Old French for snail)”

לימ״ץ בלע״ז מין חלזון

“Limace (Old French for snail) in a foreign language is a kind of chilazon”

• Chochmat Shlomo (Shabbat 77b)

שבלול לימצא נ״ב הוא פי׳ של חומט רש״י פי׳ שבלול חומט שקורים בל״א שנע״ק

Shablul is a limace (Old French for snail) and it is the meaning of chomet.

Rashi explained Shablul as Chomet which is called in another language schnecke (snail in Yiddish).

• Radak (Hullin 132a)

שבלול הוא שרץ הנקרא בלעז לימס״א,ויש אומרים קראקו״ל…שבלול שהוא מתכסה בתוך קליפתו שהיא לו כמו לבוש

Shablul is a sheretz which is called limace (Old French for snail) in a foreign language, and there is who call it “caragol” (snail in Spanish)… The Shablul hides itself inside his shell which is like a garment.

  1. When the sea snail ‘goes up from the sea once in seventy years’ by being washed ashore by a storm and it is inside its shell or the land snail has sealed itself inside to prevent moist lost during long periods of rain (as known, land snails only move during rain or short after it has rained), then one is not liable for tzad as the snail is already self-caught or unable to move as it went inside its shell.

Furthermore, the Tanna of the Yerushalmi implies the chilazon is not liable for tzad if it is like the tachash that was brought by Hashem to the desert to make the mishkan. This is because is easily available.

Nevertheless, there is melacha of tzad for a chilazon when the chilazon is able to move, even with reduced mobility mentioned by Rashi in Chagiga 11a (see Rashi in Shabbat 106 and 107 where even worms are liable for tzeida). This applies to when the sea snail is in the water or for land snails on land.

Therefore, the Yerushalmi’s lonely opinion and the Bavli are discussing two different situations in one situation one is liable for trapping (when the snail is able to move, even if slowly) and in the other situation, one is not liable for trapping (when the snail is immobile and easily available).

  • Welcome to MiYodeya Gershom and thanks for your first answers. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. See in particular the focus on sourcing your answers. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 4:13
  • 1
    Thank you, I will add some sources soon. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 4:14

See the Aruch Hashulchan 316:1:

צידה היא מאבות מלאכות, שכשצד איזה דבר שיש במינו צידה, כלומר שדרך העולם לצודן - חייב במזיד סקילה וכרת, ובשוגג חייב חטאת. וצידה היתה במשכן, שהרי היו צריכין חלזון לדמו לצבוע בו תכלת והיו צדין אותו, וכן היו צדין התחשים שהיו צריכין לעורותיהם לכסות בו את המשכן, וגם השליו היו צריכין לצוד. ובגמרא (ע"ה.) הדבר פשוט שיש בחלזון צידה, ובירושלמי פרק כלל גדול (סוף הלכה ב') יש בזה פלוגתא, דיש מי שסובר דאין צידה בחלזון. והטעם נראה לי דכיון דהוא תולעת בעלמא מקרי אין במינו נצוד, והלכה שיש בו צידה. (ומפרשי הירושלמי פירשו שם דסבירא ליה דאין צידה באבות מלאכות כלל, ודבריהם תמוהים, וכן כתב התוספות (ע"ה. סוף ד"ה 'הצד') וזה לשונו: "וצ"ע, דבירושלמי משמע דצד חלזון לא מיחייב משום צידה" עכ"ל. וזהו כדברינו רק התוספות כתבו בפשיטות, ובאמת יש פלוגתא בירושלמי ע"ש)

Rough translation: Trapping is a primary form of prohibited work. This is the case when the species is one that is trapped, meaning, one that people [normally] trap. One who does so intentionally receives stoning and is cut off, whereas one who does so unintentionally has to bring a sin offering. Trapping occurred in the Mishkan for they needed the Chilazon for its blood to dye techelet and they trapped it. Additionally, they trapped a tachash for its hide to cover the Mishkan and so too a quail they needed to trap. And in the talmud [bavli] it is clear that there is trapping by the Chilazon. [But] in the Talmud Yerushalmi Perek Klal Gadol there is a disagreement, for there is one who holds that there is no trapping by the Chilazon. the reason appears to me that since it is really just a worm type thing it's not called something that people trap. The law follows that trapping applies. There are some commentaries on the Talmud Yerushalmi that trapping is not a primary form of forbidden work and this is surprising as brought in Tosfot and this is Tosfot's language: This needs analysis for the Yerushalmi implies that there is no trapping in the case of the Chilazon, but in truth this a disagreement as discussed.

  • 3
    Welcome to MiYodeya Ethan and thanks for this first answer. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. It would be much better to quote the AH (you can use Sefaria to copy/paste) and explain your answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 4:33
  • 1
    Nice contribution. If you translate the Aruch Hashulchan I'll +1
    – robev
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 15:29
  • 1
    Well done and welcome again
    – mbloch
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 4:05

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