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My question concerns the correct way to punctuate a ruling found at the very end of the first perek of Beitza (in the Mishna). There, the mishna in question provides a list of items that may or may not be sent to people on a yontef:

Clothing may be sent, whether or not it is stitched together and whether or not it contains kilayim, so long as it can be used during the festival. A spiked sandal cannot be sent (cf: Shabbat 6:2), and nor can a shoe that has not been sewn together. Rabbi Yehuda adds to the list of things that cannot be sent a shoe that has not yet been dyed (מנעל לבן), since it requires a craftsman, at which point the mishna closes with the following principle:

זה הכלל: כל שנאותין בו ביום טוב משלחין אותו

How should this phrase be translated? There are two possible ways:

1) This is the rule: anything that may be used [lit. "with which one may derive enjoyment"], we send on a yontef;

2) This is the rule: anything that may be used on a yontef, we send.

The Bartenura adopts the first of those translations (as, incidentally, does Kehati and Danby):

ה"ק, כל שנאותין בו בחול כמות שהוא ואינו צריך למלאכה אחרת, אע"פ שאין נאותין ביו"ט, כגון תפילין, שבחול לובשין אותן כמות שהן וביום טוב אין לובשין אותן, משלחין אותן ביו"ט

Anything that may be used [lit. "with which one may derive enjoyment"] on a weekday as they are, and which do not require any additional work, even though they may not be used on a yontef (such as tefillin, which one wears as they are on a weekday but does not wear on a yontef), may be sent on a yontef.

To me, this interpretation is problematic, given the example in the mishna of the spiked sandal. This is an item that can be worn on a weekday, just not on a Shabbes or a yontef. If we adopt the first of those two translations, as the Bartenura does, then how do we explain the prohibition of sending spiked sandals but the permissibility of sending tefillin (which also cannot be worn on the yontef)? Does it not make more sense to adopt the second of my translations, and to derive the permissibility of tefillin and other items from something else?

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    FWIW I found version 2 to be more natural before thinking about it at all. – Double AA Sep 24 '13 at 1:32
  • "This is an item that can be worn on a weekday, just not on a Shabbes or a yontef." i guess they disagree.... – Math chiller Sep 24 '13 at 3:51
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The rule the mishna gives relates to the state of an object, but specific objects will be prohibited regardless of their state. Unfinished items may not be sent, while finished items may generally be sent, and the rule for determining if an item is completed is if you can use it as-is. Spiked sandals are something which are specifically prohibited as an item which is antithetical to the spirit of the day, and is not just something which cannot be used on that day, and therefore it may not be sent, even though it can be used as is on a weekday.

  • I like the reasoning behind your answer very much (and +1), but it doesn't strike me as the simplest way to read the passage, if only by virtue of the fact that it makes the ruling given at the end of the mishna into something that only describes most of the mishna but not all of it. The passage about the spiked sandals now doesn't belong here; I'd prefer an interpretation of the כלל that took that passage into account as well... Ideally. – Shimon bM Sep 24 '13 at 12:19
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The most important part of the perush of the Raav is: ה"ק - הכי קאמר That is to say that the Mishna is NOT explained according the simple pshat. The simple pshat is the Hava Amina of Abaye in Beitza 15a - this corresponds to your 2nd pshat. However the Maskana of Gemara is הכי קאמר , and corresponds [roughly] to your 1st pshat. Raav and Kehati follow the Gemara.

The prohibition of spiked sandals includes sending them but not handling them on Yom Tov. In Mishna Sdura - I try not to commit the text to the perush but leave the simple pshat evident in the text. Therefore in this Mishna I didn't use a comma. This can make a good classroom discussion.

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I will expose a lecture following Rambam's commentary (against Rashi (1) from a syntactic point of view

  1. As @Double AA noticed in comment, the lecture you called"first translation is more natural.

To read on a fair way the statement זה הכלל we must first understand that it is a summary, summarizing several halachot stated above.

The first statement is in mishna 9 (despite that it's Bet Shammai opinion, narrower than the final rule).

בית שמאי אומרים, אין משלחין ביום טוב אלא מנות. ‏

The predicate of the sentence is "to send it on Yom Tov". Bet Shammai says that this predicate characterises food consumable immediately.

Bet Hillel is less stringent and extends the predicate to live kosher animals. Rabbi Shimon extends it to grain.

In Mishna 10, the predicate is written in short, משלחין. And at the end "אין משלחין אותו".

The summary regards the paradigm of the subject. And the predicate is still called in short.

זה הכלל כל שניאותין בו ביום טוב, משלחין אותו.

  1. But the maining is redrafted in Gemara.

Despite that, the structure of the statement remains, as wrote Rambam in his comment.

וכן זה הכלל כל שנאותין בו אפילו בחול כמו שהוא ביום טוב משלחין אותו

The text of Rambam in Mishne Tora (YT 5, 6) is approximately the same

כל שניאותין בו אפילו בחול--אף על פי שאין ניאותין בו ביום טוב, כגון תפילין--מותר לשלחו לחברו ביום טוב; ואין צריך לומר דבר שניאותין בו ביום טוב, כגון יינות שמנים וסלתות, שמותר לשלחן. וכל דבר שאין ניאותין בו בחול עד שיעשה בו מעשה שאסור לעשותו ביום טוב, אין משלחין אותו ביום טוב.

All the objects that can be in use ... as they are now in Yom Tov. "as they are now in Yom Tov" is the new meaning of "in Yom Tov". I am not sure but we can call this a metonymy.

You writes: To me, this interpretation is problematic, given the example in the mishna of the spiked sandal. This is an item that can be worn on a weekday, just not on a Shabbes or a yontef. If we adopt the first of those two translations, as the Bartenura does, then how do we explain the prohibition of sending spiked sandals but the permissibility of sending tefillin (which also cannot be worn on the yontef)?

Rashi himself who advocates this girsa refers to this question and answers that for spiked sandals there is an additional reason.

דלא לימא מדשרו רבנן לשלחו שמע מינה מותר להעלות

For the spiked sandal, we are afraid that he will wear them in Yom Tov.

So you're absolutely right, for the punctuation of Rashi there is a kushia from spiked sandal. I need to add that the prohibition to wear spiked sandals in Shabbat and Yom Tov is not really linked to the kedushat hayom, but because there are meeting days.

But after gemara's conclusion, even if we don't alter the natural punctuation, an additional reason is needed for spiked sandals, because there are weared in Yom Chol as they are now in Yom Tov.

Both punctuations are equivalent regarding the discrepancy between tefillin and spiked sandals. The phrase is only more elegant following the Rambam.


(1): Rashi (Betsa 15a), quotation from Tosfot Yom Tov:

ופירש"י דהאי ביו"ט דקתני מתניתין. לאו אנאותין דלקמיה קאי אלא אמשלחין דבתריה. ע"כ.‏

The words "ביום טוב" (in Festival) are connected to "meshallechin" (they send), not to "נאותין" (they are used).

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