1) SAVING FOOD FROM A BURNING HOUSE ON SHABBOS
OPINIONS: According to Rav Huna, one is permitted to take out as much food as he wants from a burning house on Shabbos if he does so in the manner of "Matzil," by carrying the food in one basket or container into a Chatzer. However, one is not permitted to save as much food as he wants in the manner of "Mekapel." When he saves food through Mekapel, he may carry only as much food as he needs for three meals.
The Gemara says that there is a third way to carry food out of a burning house -- by spreading out a Talis and placing the food items in it. The Gemara concludes that this is not similar to Mekapel, and one may carry out as much food as he wants in this manner.
What is Mekapel, and what is the difference between Mekapel and putting all of the food into a Talis?
(a) TOSFOS (19b, DH v'Chad) explains that Mekapel refers to taking out food in individual containers, one after the other. This differs from using a Talis to save food, because one places multiple containers into a single Talis and then takes them all out in one act by carrying the Talis.
(b) Rashi earlier (19b, DH v'Chad) explains that Mekapel refers to placing many containers into one large container, and that is what is forbidden according to Rav Huna. (Rashi's definition of Mekapel is identical to Tosfos' definition of Talis, which is permitted). This also seems to be Rashi's intention in the Gemara here (Rashi adds the word "ul'Osfam" in his explanation for Rav Huna, which implies that all of the containers are first gathered into one large one before they are taken out).
Tosfos questions Rashi's explanation. According to Rashi, there seems to be no difference between being Mekapel and using a Talis to carry out all of the containers of food, since both involve placing many containers into one larger one and carrying it out. Why, then, should a Talis be more permitted than Mekapel?
The RAMBAN answers that according to Rashi, in the case of the Talis, one empties the containers of food into the Talis and carries out the Talis full of food without the containers themselves. This is permitted. Mekapel, though, refers to placing the containers themselves into one large container and carrying them all out together. Carrying the food out in this manner is prohibited.
(The Gemara compares placing food into a Talis with the case of saving wine from a leaking barrel. It should be pointed out that only according to Rashi is the comparison exact, because the wine falls directly into the container that one puts underneath the barrel, just as the food that one puts into the Talis goes directly into the Talis and is not contained within any other utensil within the Talis.)
2) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAVING FOOD AND SAVING CLOTHES
QUESTION: The Mishnah says that when one wants to save his food from his house that is on fire, he may announce to others, "Bo'u v'Hatzilu Lachem" -- "Come and save for yourselves." However, when one wants to save his clothing from the fire, the Mishnah says that he may announce, "Bo'u v'Hatzilu Imi" -- "Come and save with me." Why does the declaration for saving food differ from the declaration for saving clothes?
The Gemara answers that the maximum amount of food that is fit for the owner is enough food for three meals. Any more food than that is not fit for him. On the other hand, he is not as limited with regard to clothing as he is with regard to food, since he can wear many articles of clothing throughout the day.
How does the Gemara's answer address the difference in the words that he may use to announce to others to help him save his items, "Lachem" for food and "Imi" for clothing?
(a) The BARTENURA explains that with regard to food, any person who comes to save food from the burning house may save only enough food for his own Shabbos needs, which is a maximum of three meals' worth of food. Therefore, the amount that one may save depends on how many meals he has already eaten (for example, if he has already eaten one meal, he may save only two meals' worth of food). Consequently, the amount of food that any person may save is subjective, based on what that person has already eaten. Therefore, the owner of the food who wants to save his food from the fire announces, "Bo'u v'Hatzilu Lachem" -- "Come and save for yourselves," because each person may save only enough food for his own Shabbos needs.
When one saves clothes, on the other hand, it does not matter how much one has worn or is presently wearing. One may always save eighteen items of clothing, since they can be worn throughout the day. Therefore, one announces, "Bo'u v'Hatzilu Imi" -- "Come and save with me," since everyone may save the same amount of eighteen items of clothing.
(b) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (on the Mishnayos) points out that the Bartenura's approach contradicts the assertion of the RAN that other people may save from the fire as much food as they want, and that only the owner is limited to saving three meals. Rebbi Akiva Eiger suggests instead that with regard to food, since the owner may take only the amount that he needs for that day and no more, he is makes the rest of the food Hefker, since he has no other choice. Therefore, he says, "Lachem," which expresses his intent to make the food Hefker and let others take it for themselves.
With regard to clothing, though, since the owner is permitted to go back into the house as many times as he can and take out more clothing, he does not make his clothing Hefker. Therefore, he says, "Imi" -- come and save the clothing "with me" (that is, "for me, because I still own it"). When the Gemara says that clothing "is fit for him all day," it means that the owner can continue to enter the house to wear more sets of clothing in order to save them, and consequently he does not make his clothing Hefker.
(c) The YERUSHALMI, cited by the RASHBA on the Mishnah, explains that food and clothing may be saved by others because food is normally fed to guests, and clothing is normally loaned to others.
Accordingly, perhaps one says "for yourselves" with regard to food because he has nothing to do with the food that others save; they take it out only because they can eat it themselves. With regard to clothing, though, he announces that others should come and save his food "with me," as if to say, "Take out my clothing* because I can lend it to you, and you will wear it and immediately return it to me." This may be the meaning of the words of the Gemara here that says that clothing is "fit for him the entire day." After others finish wearing borrowed clothes, they are returned to their original owner who can wear them the rest of the day. (M. KORNFELD)
3) MOVING A DOOR THAT SUPPORTS A CANDLE
QUESTION: The Gemara says that one is permitted to open and close a door that has a candle affixed to it, as long as there is no Pesik Reshei that the candle will become extinguished as a result.
Why is the Gemara not bothered by the problem that the door is a Basis l'Davar ha'Asur? The Gemara earlier (47a) teaches that the flame of a lit candle is a Davar ha'Asur, an object forbidden to be handled on Shabbos, and thus the door that supports the candle is a Basis for the forbidden object, and a Basis l'Davar ha'Asur may not be moved!
(a) TOSFOS (DH Posei'ach) offers three answers. First, Tosfos suggests that opening and closing a door is not considered an act of moving Muktzah. Since the door is attached to, and part of, a larger object (the house), moving the door is not considered moving a forbidden object, because only part of the object is being moved. The entire object (the house) is not being moved from its place. Therefore, when one moves the door, he is not considered to be moving a Basis l'Davar ha'Asur.
This approach seems to be the opinion of the RAMBAM as well. The Gemara (44b) teaches that if a Muchni that is attached to a Shidah has money on it, one may move the Muchni on Shabbos. The Rambam (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) explains that the Muchni is a drawer that slides in and out of a bureau. When the Gemara says that one may move the Muchni on Shabbos even when there is money on it, it means that one may slide the drawer in and out if it is permanently attached. If the drawer is not permanently attached, it may not be removed from the bureau. The reason for this is that when an object is a Basis for Muktzah, one is prohibited only from moving the entire object from its place, but he may move a part of it.
(b) Tosfos says that a door cannot become a Basis to a lit candle, because the door is part of the house and a house cannot become subordinate to a candle. A Basis is defined as something that supports and serves the Muktzah item. The entire house cannot be said to be serving the flame.
(c) Tosfos explains that we find in the Gemara that an object does not become a Basis for a forbidden object unless a person purposely leaves the forbidden object on top of it. Tosfos suggests that perhaps the lit candle was left on the door unintentionally; someone intended to remove it from there before Shabbos but forgot. Therefore, the door does not become a Basis l'Davar ha'Asur.