1) HOW TO BECOME A "SHOTEH"
The Gemara concludes that performing even one strange action classifies a person as a Shoteh. The Gemara's conclusion is based on another Beraisa which states that a definite sign that one is Shoteh is when the person loses everything that is given to him. The Gemara asks whether this Beraisa proves that any single, strange action suffices to prove that the person is a Shoteh (and three different actions are not necessary), or only a single, strange action which is similar to losing everything suffices to make him a Shoteh (so that only a strange action which involves a loss of money, such as tearing one's clothing, is a definite sign that he is a Shoteh, while the other signs (going out alone at night and sleeping in a graveyard) are not enough by themselves to show that one is a Shoteh).
Why does the Gemara suggest the possibility that tearing one's clothing alone proves that a person is a Shoteh, while the other two signs must be combined in order to prove that he is a Shoteh? The first Beraisa states clearly that one is considered a Shoteh when he performs these three actions. If tearing one's clothing alone renders him a Shoteh, why does the Beraisa say that he must do all three actions? Once he has torn his clothing he is a Shoteh, regardless of whether or not he does the other two actions. If he has only slept in a graveyard and walked outside at night alone but has not ripped his clothing, he has not shown that he is a Shoteh. Why, then, does the Beraisa mention the other two signs? The Beraisa must mean that if a person does either one of the three actions by itself, he is considered a Shoteh (like the first option the Gemara suggests, that any single, strange action makes a person a Shoteh).
Moreover, why does the act of tearing one's clothing alone make a person into a Shoteh, while the other two acts must be done in combination with other acts? The Beraisa seems to equate them, and it does not differentiate between the degree of proof which each action provides. (TUREI EVEN)
If this is the opinion of Rav Huna, in what way does Rebbi Yochanan disagree? Does he maintain that doing even a single act one time renders a person a Shoteh, or does he maintain that doing a single act three times renders him a Shoteh?
The Turei Even explains that Rebbi Yochanan maintains that only when one does a single act three times is he considered a Shoteh; he does not become a Shoteh by doing one act only one time. Therefore, when the Beraisa says that one must do three acts to become a Shoteh, it means that even though one tears his clothing, he still is not a Shoteh until he does the other two acts, because the only way that tearing one's clothing can classify a person as a Shoteh (without any other strange act) is when he does it three times. (Doing one of the other two acts three times does not render him a Shoteh. Only if he does all three acts, one time each, does he become a Shoteh.)
This explains why the Beraisa equates all of the acts and does not distinguish between tearing one's clothing and the other two acts. When each act is done only once, they indeed are equal (one is not considered a Shoteh for doing any one of these acts a single time).
(b) The CHIDUSHIM U'VI'URIM explains that Rav Huna requires that the person do all three acts (in order to be classified as a Shoteh) only when he does each act in a manner which does not necessarily prove that he is a Shoteh; there is another plausible explanation for why he did the strange act (as the Gemara mentions on 3b). However, when he does an act in such a way that it is absolutely clear that he did it because he was a Shoteh and for no other reason, he is considered a Shoteh even if he does only one of the three acts.
According to the Gemara's conclusion that the Beraisa means that tearing one's clothing alone is enough to classify a person as a Shoteh, each of the other two acts mentioned in the Beraisa (going out alone at night and sleeping in a graveyard) will also classify him as a Shoteh when it is done alone in a manner in which there is no alternative explanation for his act. In such a case, all three acts are equal. In contrast, when the acts are done in a way which can be justified with a plausible explanation, the only sign that classifies him as a Shoteh is an act of tearing his clothing; the other two acts are not considered signs of a Shoteh when there is a plausible alibi.
2) A SLAVE'S OBLIGATION TO OBSERVE MITZVOS
However, the verse in Vayikra from which the Gezeirah Shavah is derived discusses a Shifchah, a maidservant, "whose freedom was not yet given to her (Lah)." How can the Gemara derive from the comparison between a woman and a maidservant that a male slave is exempt from Mitzvos? The Gezeirah Shavah teaches only that a female slave is exempt from Mitzvos like a woman. A male slave, however, may differ from a female slave, just as a Jewish man differs from a Jewish woman with regard to Mitzvah observance.
One cannot answer that even without the Gezeirah Shavah we would have known that a maidservant's obligation in Mitzvos is like a woman's (since, after all, she is also a woman), and thus the word "Lah" in the verse must be teaching that a male servant's obligation is like that of a woman. This answer is not plausible because the Gemara in Kidushin (23a) derives from the Gezeirah Shavah many of the laws of writing a slave's contract of release from the laws of writing a woman's Get. Consequently, even if the Gezeirah Shavah is not needed to teach the Mitzvah-obligation of a maidservant, there is no indication that it should be used to teach the Mitzvah-obligation of a male slave, because it is already used to teach something else. (TUREI EVEN, TOSFOS REBBI AKIVA EIGER in Mishnayos Berachos 3:3)
ANSWER: The Acharonim address the nature of a slave's obligation in Mitzvos and what exactly the Gezeirah Shavah ("Lah, Lah") teaches. Would one have assumed that a slave is obligated in all Mitzvos (like an ordinary Jew), and the Gezeirah Shavah limits his obligation to that of a woman? Alternatively, would one have assumed that the slave is completely exempt from Mitzvos (like a non-Jew), and the Gezeirah Shavah obligates him in the Mitzvos which a woman is obligated to observe? What is the nature of the slave's obligation in Mitzvos, and what exactly does the Gezeirah Shavah teach?
The TUREI EVEN and REBBI AKIVA EIGER suggest that a slave would have been exempt from Mitzvos completely, and the Gezeirah Shavah obligates him like a woman. Therefore, there is no source to obligate a male slave in any Mitzvos other than those of a woman: Without the verse he is like a non-Jew; the verse obligates him only in the Mitzvos of a woman. There is no source other than this Gezeirah Shavah to obligate him in more Mitzvos. (This logic is expressed clearly by TOSFOS to Bava Kama (88a, DH Yehei) who says that the Gezeirah Shavah serves to obligate the slave in Mitzvos and not to exempt him from them. See also SHITAH MEKUBETZES to Kerisus 7b, #17.)
This understanding is actually implied by the Gemara's wording: "Any Mitzvah which a woman is obligated to do, a slave is obligated to do, and any Mitzvah which she is not obligated to do, a slave is not obligated to do." The Gemara does not say, "Any Mitzvah from which a woman is exempt, a slave is also exempt." By phrasing the comparison in terms of obligations and not exemptions, the Gemara implies that the slave would be completely exempt without the Gezeirah Shavah, and the Gezeirah Shavah gives him obligations like a woman.
Rebbi Akiva Eiger, however, questions this approach. The RAMBAM rules that the Torah's prohibition against shaving one's beard applies to a slave, even though the prohibition does not apply to a woman whose physical nature is such that she does not grow facial hair. Why, though, should this prohibition apply to a slave if it does not apply to a woman? It seems that a slave indeed is obligated in all of the Mitzvos and the Gezeirah Shavah reduces his obligations to those of a woman. A slave remains bound by the prohibition against shaving, because the only reason why a woman is exempt from the prohibition is her physical nature (which a slave does not share). If a slave would have been exempt from all Mitzvos without the Gezeirah Shavah and the Gezeirah Shavah gives him the obligations of a woman, he should not be obligated to observe the prohibition against shaving; there is no source that obligates him in that Mitzvah.
RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN Hy'd (in KOVETZ HE'OROS 11:3) writes that this is not a valid question. Since a woman is exempt only because of her physical nature, it is as if the Torah did command her to observe the Mitzvah but her physical nature exempts her from it. Therefore, since in theory she is obligated, a slave is also obligated. However, since his physical nature is such that he does grow a beard, he is not exempt like a woman.
HAGA'ON RAV YISRAEL ZEV GUSTMAN zt'l pointed out that this approach may be the subject of a dispute among the Rishonim. The Halachah states that a slave must immerse himself in a Mikvah twice: once when he becomes a slave, and once when he is freed. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 13:12) writes that it is only after the second Tevilah that "his conversion is completed" and he becomes a full-fledged Jew. This implies that before the second Tevilah, the slave is not a full-fledged Jew (like the approach of Rebbi Akiva Eiger). This also may be the intention of RASHI in Yevamos (47b, DH Aval Eved), who writes that when a slave immerses for the first time to become a slave, at that moment he becomes "Shayach b'Mitzvos." Rashi calls him only "Shayach b'Mitzvos" (literally, "related" to Mitzvah performance). Why does Rashi not write simply that he becomes "Chayav b'Mitzvos" (fully obligated to do Mitzvos)? It seems that Rashi understands that a slave is not Chayav in Mitzvos, but only "Shayach," which means that the Mitzvos apply to him but not in the same way they apply to a normal Jew.
However, the NIMUKEI YOSEF in Yevamos (ibid.) cites the RAMBAN who writes that the second Tevilah of the slave is required only mid'Rabanan. This implies that the first Tevilah makes him a full-fledged Jew mid'Oraisa.
(How would the Ramban answer the question of Rebbi Akiva Eiger, who asks that the Gezeirah Shavah should teach only that a maidservant is obligated in Mitzvos like a woman, but not a male slave? Perhaps the Ramban would agree that without the Gezeirah Shavah, we would have assumed that a slave is not considered a Jew and has no obligation to fulfill any Mitzvos. When the Gezeirah Shavah ("Lah, Lah") compares a slave to a woman with regard to Mitzvah observance, it bases its comparison between a slave and a woman on logical grounds. Just as the Torah exempts a woman from some of the Mitzvos because she has responsibilities to others and is not always free to fulfill some of the Mitzvos (as the AVUDRAHAM explains), so, too, a slave is subordinate to his master's will, and therefore the Torah exempts him from some of the Mitzvos. When the Torah obligates a slave in some of the Mitzvos (like a woman), it must be because he is considered a full-fledged Jew and it is merely his Shi'abud to his master which exempts him from some of the Mitzvos. When he is freed, he automatically becomes obligated in all of the remaining Mitzvos.)
This dispute among the Rishonim is expressed in other areas. The Rishonim disagree about whether the body of a dead slave is Asur b'Hana'ah (forbidden to benefit from) like the body of a Jew, or whether it is Mutar b'Hana'ah like the body of a Nochri (TOSFOS and RASHBA to Bava Kama 10a, DH sheha'Shor).
Similarly, TOSFOS in Sotah (61b) implies that a living slave does not become Tamei, just as a Nochri does not become Tamei.
Rebbi Akiva Eiger questions why a slave does not become Tamei if the Gezeirah Shavah compares him to a woman. Just as a woman can become Tamei, a slave should become Tamei. Similarly, the corpse of a slave should be Asur b'Hana'ah, just like the body of a woman. Why does one opinion say that the corpse of a slave is Mutar b'Hana'ah?
The answer to this question is as follows. TOSFOS in Zevachim (103a, DH Ein) says that the Gezeirah Shavah which compares a slave to a woman applies only insofar as the obligation in Mitzvos is concerned. The Gezeirah Shavah teaches nothing about the Halachic nature of the slave. Accordingly, since a slave is essentially a Nochri (since the Gezeirah Shavah does not serve to compare his nature to that of a woman), he cannot become Tamei and his corpse is Mutar b'Hana'ah. (This answer is based on the approach of Rebbi Akiva Eiger (mentioned above) that a slave would not be obligated in any Mitzvos had there been no Gezeirah Shavah.)
The Rishonim who disagree and say that a slave becomes Tamei and his corpse is Asur b'Hana'ah maintain either that the Gezeirah Shavah applies to the Halachic nature of the slave just as it applies to the degree of his obligation in Mitzvos, or they follow the view of the Ramban that a slave after his first Tevilah has the status of a Jew. (See also Insights to Erchin 2:1 and Kerisus 7:3.)
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