When the gemara asks how does he know its shabbos if he was shogeg on all melochos, (ie he then must have known nothing about Shabbos and it would be shigegas Shabbos not Melochos) why cannot we answer by saying he knew all the melochos but not that prat that he was over. In that case he knew there were issurim but not the prat that he did?
Thanks in advance
Moishe Weissbraun, London
This is an excellent question. Similar questions are asked by the Rishonim in the Sugya earlier (69a).
1. The Tosfos Yeshanim (69a) asks, why does the Gemara not answer that the person knew all of the Melachos but he had a mistaken idea about the minimum Shi'urim necessary for each Melachah? For example, he thought that one is Chayav only when he moves an object five amos in Reshus ha'Rabim (as opposed to four), or when he sows three stitches (and not two) or writes three letters (and not two), and on the basis of this mistake he proceeded to move the object five Amos in Reshus ha'Rabim, or he sowed three stitches or wrote three letters, activities which indeed makes one Chayav. The Tosfos Yeshanim answers that it is uncommon that a person should make such a mistake and invent an incorrect Shi'ur for a Melachah. The Ritva (69a, DH b'Techumin) adds that it is unusual that a person should know about all the Melachos but not know the correct Shi'ur for all 39.
It is evident from the Tiferes Yisrael that the Mishnah does not reckon with unlikely mistakes in Halachic knowledge that would enable a person to transgress all 39 Melachos. I would suggest that in a similar way it is unusual that a person should know about each of the 39 Melachos but nevertheless make a mistake on 39 different details.
2. The Tosfos Rid (69a) gives a different explanation. He writes that if a person knows about all of the Melachos but makes a mistake with the Shi'urim, or if he knows all of the Avos Melachos but erred about which are the Toldos, this is no longer considered Shogeg for which he may bring a Korban, but rather he is considered "Karov l'Mezid," almost deliberate, for which one cannot obtain atonement with a Korban, according to the Tosfos Rid. The Tosfos Rid writes that if a person is aware of each forbidden Melachah, then he should know that he must be careful to find out what the correct Shi'ur is so that he should not stumble in a Torah prohibition. Since he was not careful about this, and he made 39 mistakes, he is considered almost as though he has transgressed the prohibitions willfully, and therefore he does not bring a Korban.
Again, I suggest that in a similar vein if a person knew all the 39 Melachos but nevertheless managed to make 39 mistakes about the details, this shows that there is something wrong with his attitude towards Shabbos. He is doing actions which must be very similar to the Melachos which he is aware are forbidden, and thus he is no longer considered Shogeg, but rather almost deliberate, and he is exempt from a Korban Chatas.
Dear Reb Dovid,
Thanks a lot.
After I emailed you I did spot the Ritvoh but I am still not too happy since many of our Rabbis have spent much time telling us to learn all the halochos of Shabbos regularly since each Av Melocho has so many protim that it is almost impossible to keep Shabbos properly without constant Chazoro without which one is bound to breach every melocho in some way (presumably Deoraisos). That being the case, it would appear not that difficult to breach all 39 melochos even with a fair amount of learning and that would still constitute Shogeg.
Furthermore, the Gemoro seemed quite happy that one might have breached 38 (thirty eight) melochos which would require 38 korbonos. At that stage the gemoro did not wonder how possible for 38 to be forgotten without it being Korov lemeizid. Hence one more melocho should not change the situation (unless you would say Adifoh minei koPorich). Am I wrong?
Sorry to bother you and your taking the time and effort to respond is very much appreciated.
Moishe, thank you very much for your comments. It is a pleasure to answer this interesting question.
1. I certainly agree with you that it is very important to review Hilchos Shabbos regularly, and that if one does not do so it is very likely that he will transgress at least a Prat of the Melachos. However, my argument is the converse of your argument and does not contradict what you are saying. I argue that it would be unusual for a person to transgress 39 Pratim, one for each Melachah, and still avoid transgressing even one Av Melachah. I will give an illustration of this from certain breakaway groups from Torah who claim that they observe all the explicit Mitzvos d'Oraisa but do not believe in the way Chazal interpreted aspects of the Mitzvos which are not stated openly in the Torah. In practice, people who subsribe to these groups almost invariably transgress Mitzvos which are in fact explicitly forbidden, because it is extremely difficult to keep the Torah without the help of Chazal. I am not necessarily saying that it is totally impossible to avoid transgressing the explicit 39 Melachos in this way, but at least it is uncommon that a person would succeed in doing this, so the Gemara does not mention this unusual possibility in a similar way that Tosfos Yeshanim and Ritva write that the Gemara does not mention unusual scenarios.
(This in fact is what I was attempting to show with the Tosfos Yeshanim and the Ritva in my original answer: that the Gemara does not mention unusual scenarios. I suggested that your scenario, that someone got everything correct on all the Av Melachos but got everything wrong on all the Pratim, might also be rather unsual.)
(By the way, an error cropped up in my reply cited above. It should read "on the basis of this he proceeded to move the object 4 Amos (not 5 Amos)... or he sowed 2 stitches (not 3), or wrote 2 letters (not 3).)
2. I do not see that the Gemara understood that one might easily breach 38 Melachos which require 38 Korbanos. However, the Gemara never needed to consider this possiblity, because the Mishnah is discussing 39 Melachos.
My son added the following:
I dont understand one major issue discussed here Reb Dovid seems to infer that you have to be shogeg on the prat of 39 melochos, to know its shabbos. I would think that you only have to know one melocho and make a mistake on that one, not all 39, as one prat about shabbos makes it ois shiggigus shabbos.
i think the tosfos yeshanims answer will also not apply to that case. Tosfes rids answer- i am very surprised to say that if i knew a melach (ie Boreh ) but made a mistake in a prat (not knowing that pesoles could be something i dont want now) then that would be called karov lemeizid.If that would BE the case then very few people would bring a chatos - only amoratzim who have never heard of a that melocho of shabbos.
1. The reason I mentioned in my replies that the person was making 39 mistakes is that the Gemara discusses someone who is liable for 39 Korbenos Chatas.
2. I asked a Gadol your original question: Why can we not say that he knew all the 39 Melachos but he did not know the detail (Prat) that he transgressed? He replied very simply that when the Gemara states that he did 39 Melachos, this implies that he did not know the Melachah, since there is no mention of Pratim in the Gemara.
3. I think this simple understanding also helps us understand the Tosfos Rid. The simple understanding of the case of a person who was Shogeg with a Melachah is that he did not know that this Melachah was forbidden (or at least he forgot that it was forbidden). To say that the case is when one claims that he did know the Avos Melachos but did not know the Pratim is reading into the Gemara something that is not there.
4. The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 7:3) also implies that the Gemara is discussing an Am ha'Aretz who does not know what the Melachos are, because the Rambam writes, "Somebody who acts b'Shogeg, if he does many Avos in one period of lack of knowledge (He'elem Achas), he is liable for each Melachah."
5. We now can understand better why the Tosfos Rid writes that Shogeg means that he did not know the Melachah at all. If he did know about the Melachah, his responsibility is greater than one who did not know anything about the Melacha at all. If he did not know anything, he does not know where to start from and is Shogeg. However, if he knows that there is such a Melachah as "borer," for example, this means that he has a responsibility to find out more about this Melachah. If he does not know that Pesoles is something he does not want now, he no longer is a Shogeg because he is lacking the most basic knowledge of the Halachah of Borer; since he knows there is such a Melachah, he should find out all the essential details.
6. I am not saying that the opinion of the Tosfos Rid is unanimous. In fact, the Pnei Yehoshua (68b, near the end of Tosfos DH Aval Tinok) writes that Karov l'Mezid is also considered a Chet. The word "Chet" is mentioned in order to teach us that "Anus" -- a boy who was captured by the Nochrim and grew up with no connection to Yidishkeit -- is exempt. Karov l'Mezid, in contrast, requires a Korban.