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Sweeping, Saving fruit
Dedicated by Sheila and Joseph Accortt
In honor of their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary. Mazel Tov!

9 Elul 5773 / August 15, 2013

MBY 520, 521:1-3 Sweeping, Saving fruit

MBY 520 Sweeping the house. In this tiny siman, the Shulchan Aruch states that the halachos that pertain to sweeping floors on Yom Tov are the same as on Shabbos. For a lesson on that topic, please refer to MBY 337:1-4 Sweeping the house (abridged). (Ed: This lesson is available from the MBY Archives upon request!)

MBY 521:1-3 Lowering fruit (to save it from the rain) The source of the halachos in this siman is primarily the Mishnah Beitzah (5:1) which states: “We may lower produce through a skylight on Yom Tov, but not on Shabbos.” The idea of lowering the produce is as follows: In general, it is forbidden, by Rabbinic decree, to exert or strain oneself (Heb. ‘tircha’) for any non-Shabbos or Yom Tov need (even where the exertion involves neither melacha nor preparation for after Shabbos or Yom Tov), because this sort of activity detracts from the restful character and the honor of the day. The Rabbis made an exception and permitted a certain amount of ‘tircha’ when there is a Shabbos or Yom Tov need, e.g. bringing a heavy chair or table from one room to the next if it is needed. Similarly, the Rabbis permitted a certain amount of ‘tircha’ for the sake of preventing monetary loss, even if it is not a Shabbos or Yom Tov need. [Ed: For more on the topic of ‘tircha’, see MBY 333:1-3 Clearing a room on Shabbos (and matters related to ‘tircha’/strain – abridged), where we quoted a very helpful excerpt from The 39 Melachos, by Rabbi D. Ribiat, Vol. I, pp. 106-110.]

Back to lowering the produce: In the lexicon of the Mishnah, a skylight (Heb. ‘aruba’ – no, not the vacation spot!) is a horizontal window located on the roof of a building through which objects may be lowered without requiring any lifting. The case is where the produce had been drying on the roof, and one sees that rain is approaching which could cause damage to the produce. The Mishnah teaches that on Yom Tov, one may push the produce over to the skylight, allowing it to fall into the building and away from the rain. By specifying the skylight, the Mishnah implies that only the smaller amount of ‘tircha’ needed to push the produce over to the skylight is allowed in order to prevent a loss, while the greater amount of ‘tircha’ needed to lift it up and into a standard vertical window would be considered excessive and thus forbidden. Still with me?

So what’s the obvious question? Why does the Mishnah state that this ‘tircha’ of lowering the produce is only permitted on Yom Tov, but not on Shabbos? Didn’t we just learn that the Rabbis permitted ‘tircha’ – certainly minimal - for the sake of preventing a monetary loss even on Shabbos?!

One way to explain the ruling of this Mishnah is by classifying ‘tircha’ into three categories: minor, average and excessive. Minor ‘tircha’ is indeed permitted on Shabbos as well as on Yom Tov. Excessive ‘tircha’, on the other hand, is prohibited on both (hence the requirement to lower the produce, not lift it.) Lowering the produce is classified as average ‘tircha’ – not too minor and not too excessive. Apparently, the Rabbis permitted a higher degree of ‘tircha’ on Yom Tov than on Shabbos, because of the latter’s extra sanctity! Get it?

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