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The concept Gemoro Shabbos 94a that חי נושא את עצמו - a living being “carries itself” - means that someone who carries a living being out on Shabbos unwittingly is not liable to bring a sin offering.

I understand that one of the reasons for the concept of חי נושא את עצמו is that the living being adjusts his posture and hence how his weight bears on the carrier in response to the movements of the carrier. If he is unconscious, he may not be able to do that.

(BTW - A dead person is not heavier than the same person before he expired.)

When the “living being” is a human, is it right to think that חי נושא את עצמו applies only when the human being is conscious?

  • The reason for חי נושא את עצמו is simply because it wasn't in the Mishkan. It is not considered שנים שעשוהו. If the carried person is holding something that is as if the bottom one is carrying it. It's just that it is not the same accomplishment to carry one who can carry himself as it is to transport an immobile item. – HaLeiVi Oct 2 '15 at 18:37
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The idea presented in that sugya of being kafus, tied up, as disabling the חי נושא את עצמו capability would seemingly answer your question as well.

The following is the quote from that daf:

ומודה רבי נתן בכפות דלא אמרינן ביה דחי נושא את עצמו, שהוא ודאי מכביד עצמו להישמט ולהתיר קשריו.

The next quote is in the chavrusa app I have. His words echo various mefarshim (Tosafos perhaps?) I've seen, but don't have access to right now.

[והוי מצי למינקט נמי דמודו רבנן באדם כפות, א-לא נקט רבי נתן, דלדידי-ה גם בעופות יש הבדל בין כפות לשאינו כפות].

edit The gemara in Yoma 66b also says that a חולה even according to רב נתן is not נושא את עצמו.

  • From the fact that you need מכביד that would show that not adjusting would disqualify. – HaLeiVi Oct 2 '15 at 18:34

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