BEITZAH 22 - dedicated by Rabbi Kornfeld's father in memory of his aunt, Malka Gitel bas Reb Yakov Mordechai (Malvina Marmorstein), who, after the Holocaust, took him into her home and raised him as if he was her own child. Her Yahrzeit is 20 Nisan.
1) MELACHAH ON YOM TOV FOR "MACHSHIREI OCHEL NEFESH" AND FOR OTHER FORMS OF "HANA'AS HA'GUF"
QUESTION: Aba bar Marta asked Abaye if one may extinguish a flame on Yom Tov for the sake of "Davar Acher." Abaye first replied that one should use another house (or room) and not extinguish a flame. If no other house is available, then one may set up a partition (Mechitzah) in his room. If no partition is available, then he should place a utensil over the candle. If none of thee alternatives are available, one may not extinguish the flame.
If Abaye maintained that one may not extinguish a flame for the sake of "Davar Acher," then why did he not say so in the first place?
(a) The TAZ (OC 514:2) explains as follows. The Rishonim ask why Abaye ruled that one may not extinguish a flame in this case, when this ruling follows the Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Yehudah (as the Gemara concludes). The Gemara later (28a-b) says that the Halachah follows the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah who permits one to do Melachos for the sake of "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh" (and for Machshirim of other forms of Hana'as ha'Guf, bodily pleasure, as Rashi explains). Why, then, did Abaye rule like the Rabanan who argue with Rebbi Yehudah?
TOSFOS (DH ha'Hi) and the ROSH (2:19) answer that the Gemara there says that even though the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah, "Halachah v'Ein Morin Ken" -- when a Halachic authority is asked whether a Melachah may be done for "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh" (or "Machshirei Hana'as ha'Guf"), he may not openly instruct the inquirer to follow the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah. This is why Abaye did not answer that extinguishing a flame is prohibited until after he gave all of the other alternatives. By first telling the inquirer to obtain a dark room in some other way, Abaye alluded to him that extinguishing the flame is not categorically prohibited (because the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah). When Abaye, in the end, told him that it is prohibited, he was following the rule that "Ein Morin Ken," one may not directly instruct someone to act leniently and follow the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah. He did not mean that it is categorically prohibited. Accordingly, the Rosh concludes that if a person has no other way to darken the room, then he is permitted to extinguish the flame because in practice the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah.
Abaye was careful to say that he "spoke in accordance with the Rabanan," and not that he "ruled" like the Rabanan, because he indeed did not rule like the Rabanan but rather merely stated the practical Halachah in accordance with their view. The Halachah follows the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah, but "Ein Morin Ken."
(b) The CHASAM SOFER (quoted by his son in Mahadura Tinyana) explains that the other Rishonim, who disagree with the Rosh (see following Insight), give a different explanation for why Abaye did not state right away that extinguishing a flame is prohibited. The RAMBAN (in Milchamos) explains that when the Gemara (28a) says that the Halachah follows the view of Rebbi Yehudah with regard to Melachah for "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh," it refers only to cases where the Machshir is needed for a direct necessity of Ochel Nefesh. In the case of the Gemara here, however, the need for the Melachah was not directly associated with Ochel Nefesh. The person's Simchas Yom Tov would not have been diminished as a result of not being able to extinguish the flame. In cases where the Melachah is not needed for a primary need of Ochel Nefesh, the Halachah does not follow Rebbi Yehudah and there is no allowance to perform Melachah.
This is why Abaye instructed the inquirer to go to another house. Extinguishing a flame is not considered a primary need of Ochel Nefesh because it is an unusual need (usually, Ochel Nefesh does not involve extinguishing a flame, since there are so many other ways to obtain a dark room). By suggesting other ways to circumvent the problem, Abaye showed why he did not permit one to extinguish the flame: since there are so many other ways to obtain a dark room, one is not permitted to extinguish the flame in the rare case in which he has none of the other options, because such a situation is very unusual.
2) HALACHAH: EXTINGUISHING A FLAME ON YOM TOV
OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses whether one may extinguish a flame on Yom Tov for the sake of "Davar Acher," in order to prevent a financial loss, or in order to prevent one's house from filling up with smoke.
What is the Halachah in these three cases?
(a) The Gemara says that the Halachah depends on the argument between Rebbi Yehudah and the Rabanan. They argue about whether or not one is permitted to do Melachah for "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh" (and other non-food related, bodily pleasures) on Yom Tov. Since the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah (28a), extinguishing a flame should be permitted if it increases one's pleasure on Yom Tov. (Even though Abaye says that it is prohibited, he says this only because "Halachah v'Ein Morin Ken." (TOSFOS, BA'AL HA'ME'OR, ROSH)
(b) The RIF and RAMBAM (Hilchos Yom Tov 4:4) write that according to the Gemara's conclusion, extinguishing a flame in these cases is prohibited. The RAMBAN (in Milchamos) explains that according to the Rif and Rambam, when the Gemara says that the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah with regard to "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh," it refers only to a case in which doing the Melachah will cause an increase in one's Simchas Yom Tov. The Melachah is permitted so that one not refrain from Simchas Yom Tov. In the three cases of the Gemara here, however, extinguishing the flame is not needed for a primary need of Ochel Nefesh; one will not refrain from Simchas Yom Tov if he cannot do the Melachah. (The ROSH offers this explanation as a second answer.)
The Ramban's intention is unclear. The CHASAM SOFER (see previous Insight) understands that the Ramban means that these cases involve uncommon situations. The Chachamim did not permit one to do Melachah for Hana'as ha'Guf in such cases. Alternatively, the Ramban means that in these cases one is still able to eat, albeit with difficulty or uncomfortably. Therefore, the Chachamim did not permit one to do Melachah for Hana'as ha'Guf in these cases.
(c) TOSFOS (DH ha'Hi) explains that the Halachah in practice involves a compromise. Rebbi Yehudah permits two types of Melachah: Melachah needed for "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh" and Melachah needed for "Machshirei Hana'as ha'Guf" (as Rashi says in DH Rebbi Yehudah). The Gemara here refers to the second Heter of Rebbi Yehudah when it says that he permits extinguishing a flame for "Davar Acher" and in order not to have to eat outside (Rashi DH Eisivei). However, the Halachah follows Rebbi Yehudah only with regard to his first Heter, and thus one is permitted to do Melachah for "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh." The Halachah does not follow Rebbi Yehudah with regard to his second Heter, and thus one may not do Melachah for "Machshirei Hana'as ha'Guf." (This is similar to the Ramban's approach, according to the second understanding, in (b) above. The difference is that Tosfos apparently maintains that the prohibition against Melachah for "Machshirei Hana'as ha'Guf" is an Isur d'Oraisa, and the Ramban maintains that it is an Isur d'Rabanan.)
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 514:1) rules like the Rif (in (b) above) and writes that extinguishing a flame on Yom Tov is prohibited. The REMA cites the Rishonim who permit it (in (a) above), but he adds that if one is able to go to another home to eat, he is not permitted to extinguish a flame in order to prevent a financial loss (because the act of extinguishing is not being done for the sake of "Machshirei Ochel Nefesh," pleasure on Yom Tov, but for the sake of preventing a financial loss).