1) THE WOODEN FOOT OF AN AMPUTEE
QUESTION: Abaye and Rava argue whether or not the wooden foot of an amputee can become Tamei with Tum'as Midras. Tum'as Midras is conveyed by sitting, standing, or leaning upon an article that is made for sitting, standing, or leaning upon. Abaye and Rav disagree as to whether the wooden leg is made for one of those uses.
What is the basis of their argument? If an amputee stands on the wooden foot which is affixed to his leg, it certainly is an object made for standing upon. Why should it not be Mekabel Tum'as Midras?
ANSWER: TOSFOS (65b, DH ha'Kite'a), the RITVA, and other Rishonim answer that the amputee does not walk on the wooden stump. The wooden stump is there primarily for cosmetic purposes. It is leaned upon only occasionally, such as when the amputee is seated. In order to walk, the amputee uses crutches. He does not lean on the leg enough for it to be considered an object made for leaning upon. Alternatively, a wooden rod is tied to the bent knee of the amputee, and it is on that rod that he walks. The wooden foot is intended merely to cover the stump which protrudes as he walks.
2) HALACHAH: WALKING IN "RESHUS HA'RABIM" WITH CRUTCHES ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Mishnah (65b-66a) discusses what objects an amputee may go out with on Shabbos to assist his mobility. Rebbi Meir permits him to go out with a wooden foot, while Rebbi Yosi prohibits him to go out with it. TOSFOS (65b, DH ha'Kite'a) explains that the wooden foot of an amputee is not used for walking on or for leaning on; rather, the amputee walked with a stick, or with a prosthesis attached to his knee, and the wooden foot is worn at the end of the artificial leg. Only occasionally does the amputee rest the wooden foot on the floor and lean on it (RASHI DH Teme'ah Midras). The argument between Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yosi revolves around whether or not we consider footgear worn by a limited few to be a "shoe" and permit it to be worn in Reshus ha'Rabim.
Tosfos infers from the Mishnah that the amputee is permitted to carry the stick with which he walks in Reshus ha'Rabim, and the only question is whether he may wear his artificial foot in Reshus ha'Rabim. Tosfos cites additional proof that one may carry his walking stick into Reshus ha'Rabim from the end of the Mishnah, which prohibits the amputee from going out with his "Semuchos" that go with his "Kisei." He is permitted to go out with the "Kisei" itself, as well as the "Safsalim" (the two small boxes which he holds in his hands to enable him to propel himself forward).
What is the Halachah with regard to crutches on Shabbos? May a person walk in Reshus ha'Rabim with crutches on Shabbos? Are crutches considered instruments that a person carries, and thus they are prohibited, or are they considered apparel, and thus they are permitted to be taken into Reshus ha'Rabim?
ANSWER: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 301:17) distinguishes between two categories:
1. A person who cannot walk without crutches is permitted to use crutches in Reshus ha'Rabim, since they are considered apparel, like shoes (see MISHNAH BERURAH 301:63).
2. A person who is able to walk without crutches but uses crutches to assist his walking is not permitted to use his crutches in Reshus ha'Rabim. They are considered a Masuy, a load that he carries.
The Mishnah Berurah (301:64) writes that if a person walks without a cane when at home and uses a cane only when he walks outside, he is included in the second category above. However, the Mishnah Berurah (301:65) quotes the TAZ who rules that if a person has difficulty walking and must use a cane in wet or icy conditions, he is included in the first category above, and he may use a cane in Reshus ha'Rabim. The Mishnah Berurah himself argues and cites several Acharonim who disagree with the Taz and are stringent in this situation. The ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN (OC 301:70) agrees with the Taz and permits the use of a cane in icy conditions for a person who would otherwise have difficulty walking.
The Shulchan Aruch (301:18) adds that a blind person may not go out with his cane. The Mishnah Berurah explains that since the blind person can walk unaided and the cane is used only to steady himself, he is included in the second category above. The Aruch ha'Shulchan (302:72) limits the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch to a blind person who walks in a familiar area. When the blind himself is in a foreign place, he presumably is unable to walk unless he has his cane to feel around for obstacles, and thus he is included in the first category above and is permitted to carry a cane.
QUESTION: The Mishnah says that Luktemin are Tahor. In the Gemara, Rava (or Rafram) bar Papa says that Luktemin are "Keshiri." RASHI explains that Keshiri are "stilts used for walking through mud to keep one's feet clean." As Rashi asks, why should these stilts be Tahor if they are used for walking upon? They should be Tamei with Tum'as Midras!
(a) TOSFOS (DH Keshiri) cites the RI who says that they are not Tamei with Tum'as Midras because they are not used for normal walking, but only for walking through mud. The Ri seems to be consistent with his opinion elsewhere (see Tosfos to 66a, DH v'Ha and DH Tamei), where he says that something worn only to protect the feet or to protect the shoes is not considered something that is walked or stood upon. In order to be Mekabel Tum'as Midras, it must be made for the purpose of normal walking, standing, or sitting upon, and not for "special purpose" walking, standing, or sitting.
The RITVA explains that the Ri means that if an object is made for walking upon (rather than standing or sitting upon), it is not Mekabel Tum'as Midras -- unless it is in the form of a shoe (such as a Sandal Shel Sayadin, see 66a).
(b) TOSFOS cites the ARUCH who explains that Keshiri are tall stilts made for entertainment purposes. Since the person is able to walk without the stilts, and the purpose of the stilts is only to entertain onlookers and not to enhance his ability to walk, they are not Mekabel Tum'as Midras.