1) HALACHAH: EXTINGUISHING A CANDLE ON SHABBOS FOR A SICK PERSON
OPINIONS: The Gemara explains that it is permitted to extinguish a candle for a sick person who is in mortal danger and needs the room to be dark. When the Mishnah says that one who extinguishes a candle for such a sick person is "Patur," it means that it is Mutar (permitted) to do so.
Does this law apply even if there is another way to make the room dark for the sick person, such as by carrying him into another room, or by carrying out the candle, or by erecting a divider?
(a) The RAMBAM (Perush ha'Mishnayos) says that it is prohibited to extinguish a candle for a sick person if there is some other way to make the room dark for him.
The BI'UR HALACHAH (OC 278) proves from the Gemara here that according to the Rambam, it is forbidden mid'Oraisa to extinguish a candle for a sick person when there is some other way to make it dark for him. The Gemara asks why the Mishnah says that one who extinguishes a candle for a sick person is "Patur" (and not "Chayav," if it is discussing a sick person who is not in danger, or "Mutar," if it is discussing a sick person who is in danger). The fact that the Gemara does not answer that one is Patur when he extinguishes a candle for a sick person in mortal danger when there is some other way to make the room dark indicates that it must be that one would not be Patur, but Chayav. It must be that it is forbidden mid'Oraisa.
(b) The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN cites the RE'AH who permits extinguishing a candle for a sick person in danger even if there is another way to make the room dark. The ME'IRI (cited by the Bi'ur Halachah) also permits it.
RAV YEHOSHUA NEUWIRTH in SHEMIRAS SHABBOS K'HILCHASAH (32:175*) suggests that the argument between the Rambam and Re'ah may depend on their respective opinions expressed elsewhere. The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 2:1) maintains that desecrating Shabbos for the sake of saving a life merely overrides the laws of Shabbos (Shabbos is "Dechuyah" for Piku'ach Nefesh), but it does not permit the prohibitions of Shabbos entirely. The prohibitions of Shabbos remain in effect, but one may transgress them for the sake of Piku'ach Nefesh. Other Rishonim maintain that the prohibitions of Shabbos are entirely suspended for the sake of saving a life (Shabbos is "Hutrah" for Piku'ach Nefesh).
The Rambam, who maintains that the laws of Shabbos are still in effect, forbids extinguishing a candle for a sick person when there is some other way to make the room dark. The Re'ah maintains that the laws of Shabbos are entirely suspended for Piku'ach Nefesh, and thus one may extinguish a candle even if there is another way to make the room dark.
HALACHAH: Rav Neuwirth (Shemiras Shabbos ke'Hilchasah 32:70) writes that if it is possible to move the sick person out of the room easily, then one should do so and not extinguish the candle.
2) THE GATES OPENED ONLY IN THE MERIT OF DAVID HA'MELECH
QUESTION: When Shlomo ha'Melech brought the Aron ha'Kodesh to the Beis ha'Mikdash (to the Kodesh Kodashim, according to Rashi) the gates did not open for him until he prayed that they open in the merit of his father, David ha'Melech. When the gates opened at the mention of David ha'Melech, this exonerated David ha'Melech and proved that he was righteous and innocent of any wrongdoing, much to the consternation of his adversaries. Why was the merit of David ha'Melech mentioned specifically at this point?
ANSWER: The verse (Divrei ha'Yamim I 22:8) relates that Hash-m told David ha'Melech that he may not build the Beis ha'Mikdash personally, because he was involved in wars. Rather, his son will build it. The Gemara (Makos 10a) tells us that people used to taunt David ha'Melech, asking him when he will die so that they will have the Beis ha'Mikdash (see also Yerushalmi Berachos 2:1). In response to their derision, David ha'Melech rejoiced and said that he is happy to see that the people desire to have the Beis ha'Mikdash.
His enemies claimed that he was not fit to have the Beis ha'Mikdash built in his lifetime due to his sins (with Bas Sheva). Hash-m wanted to show them that David ha'Melech was indeed worthy of building the Beis ha'Mikdash, but was not to be involved in its construction for another reason. When the Beis ha'Mikdash was eventually built by his son (Shlomo, the son of Bas Sheva), it was built entirely in the merit of David ha'Melech. This is why here, at the dedication of the Beis ha'Mikdash, everyone was shown the righteousness of David ha'Melech. (M. KORNFELD)
3) MOVING A CORPSE ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that a dead body (which is Muktzah) may be moved on Shabbos by placing a loaf of bread or a baby on top of it.
The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 311:3) cites the ruling of the MORDECHAI that if the body has clothes on it, one may move the body without putting anything else on top of it (since the clothes are not Muktzah and serve the same purpose as the loaf or baby). The SHELAH HA'KODESH challenges this ruling from the Gemara here. Certainly the body of David ha'Melech was garbed in clothes, and yet the Chachamim did not permit moving the body without placing another object on top of it!
(a) The MAGEN AVRAHAM cites those who answer that when a king dies, it is not permitted for anyone else to use his possessions (see Sanhedrin 22a), and thus they must be burned. Therefore, David ha'Melech's clothes were Muktzah, and they could not permit his body to be moved.
However, the MACHTZIS HA'SHEKEL cites the BIRKAS HA'ZEVACH who asks that it is permitted for the son of a king to use his father's possessions. Since Shlomo ha'Melech was alive, he was permitted to use his father's clothes, and therefore they were not Muktzah!
The CHASAM SOFER answers that Shlomo ha'Melech felt that he was unfit to take the place of his father (or, literally, to "fill his father's shoes"), and therefore the clothes of his father were also Muktzah to him. (The Chachamim of the time apparently concurred and ruled that some other object which is not Muktzah must be placed on the body to permit moving it.)
(b) The EVEN SHOHAM (cited by the LEVUSHEI SERAD, OC 311, and BECHOR SHOR) answer that the Halachah is that if a person dies by falling from a high place, he is buried in his clothes, instead of the usual procedure of removing his clothes and dressing the body in shrouds (SHULCHAN ARUCH YD 364:4). Since David ha'Melech fell to his death when the stair broke beneath him, the Halachah required that he be buried in his clothes, and therefore they were Muktzah, since they were considered like shrouds and became Asur b'Hana'ah. (The SHACH writes that the reason the clothes must be buried with him is because when a person falls and dies, he bleeds a lot and the clothing may contain a Revi'is of blood.)